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HiUraUs translatelr into dBngUslft 












Shade of Poltdorus. 


Chorus op Captive Women. 




Female Attendant. 




After the taking of Troy, the Greeks weighed anchor, and put 
in at the opposite Chersonese of Thrace, of which Poljmestor was 
king, — the same place where they raised a cenotaph to Achilles, 
who had been buried at Troy ; and having delayed there some few 
days, so as to arrange their affairs, when they were going to put 
to sea, the shade of Achilles, appearing over the tomb, withheld 
the Greeks from setting sail, demanding to be offered to him as a 
gift of honour, Polyzena, the daughter of Priam, who had before 
also been betrothed to him by her father ; by reason of whom, too, 
Achilles was slain, being shot with an arrow by Paris and Deipho- 
bus, when Priam was about to complete her vows of betrothal to 
him. The Greeks, then, remembering the good deeds they had ex- 
perienced at his hands, and honouring his valour, passed a decree to 
sacrifice Polyzeua over the tomb of the hero ; and sent the son of 
Laertes to her mother Hecuba, that he might both take possession 
of the virgin, and by subtilty of speech (for such was the character 
of the man) might persuade Hecuba not to take to heart the loss of 
her daughter. Ulysses, accordingly, on his arrival, found the 
damsel taking part with him in his purpose, and persuading her 
mother that it was more fitting for her to die than to live unbe- 
coming her rank. And when the virgin was sacrificed, Hecuba 
sent an attendant of her own along the shore, to fetch water thence, 
to wash the corpse of Polyxena ; but she found the body of Poly- 
dorus lying there ; for Polymestor, when he learned that Troy was 
taken, murdered him, and cast him into the sea, that he might 
keep to himself the gold which Priam a little before had sent to 


him secretlj with his son Polydorus, when he saw that danger was 
now threatening Ilium. Now there was a considerable quantity 
of gold, and enough even to re-establish the family of Priam. 
When^ therefore, the slave found the corpse lying on the sea 
shore, she took it, and conveyed it, wrapped in her robe, to 
Hecuba : and deeming the corpse, before it was uncovered, to be 
Polyzena^s, but afterwards finding it to be Polydorus, she was 
greatly afflicted ; but, nev«>thele8S, to be avenged on Polymestor, 
contrived the following plan : — Having first communicated her 
intention about him to Agamemnon, she sends her own slave to 
Polymestor, to summon him and his children before her on a 
matter of urgent necessity which she had to impart. He then, 
not knowing that Polydorus had been found on the shore, and, at 
the same time being deceived by others, comes to her with his 
children. Hecuba informs him it was for this reason she sum- 
moned him, that she might inform him of certain treasures of gold 
hidden by her in Ilium ; and she leads him within the tent, 
telling him that she will also give him certain other property, 
which she had brought with her out of Troy. But within there 
had been concealed a large body of women ; by the aid of whom, 
when he had entered the tent, Hecuba puts out his eyes, and 
murders his children. Agamemnon afterwards judging between 
them, and Polymestor feigning many excuses for the murder of 
Polydorus, Hecuba gained the advantage, convicting him of 
having slain her son for the sake of the gold, and not for the 
reasons he alleged, and having Agamemnon's judgment also on her 

The scene of the drama is supposed to be in the Thracian Cher- 
sonese, over against Troy : and the chorus consists of Trojan 
captive women who are to succour Hecuba. 


After the siege of Ilium, the Greeks pat in at the Chersonese, 
opposite the Troad ; and Achilles, appearing bj night, demanded 
that one of the daughters of Priam should be sacrificed. The 
Greeks, therefore, respecting the commands of the hero, tore 
Polyxena away from Hecuba and sacrificed her ; and Pol jmestor, 
king of the Thracians, murdered Poljdorus, one of Priam's sons. 
Now Poljmestor had received him from Priam, in charge, with 
a treasure of money. But when the city was taken, wishing to 
keep possession of his wealth, he set about to murder him, and 
cared little for friendship in calamity. The body was cast out 
into the sea : the waves washed it ashore near the tents of the 
female captives ; and Hecuba, seeing the corpse, recognised it ; 
and communicating her intention to Agamemnon, she sent for 
Polymestor to come to her with his children (concealing what 
had occurred), pretending she would point oat to him certain 
treasures that were in Ilium -, but when he arrived, his sons she 
murdered, and himself she deprived of his eyes. And defending 
herself before the Greeks, she came off victorious over her ac- 
cuser ; for she was decided not to have instigated the atrocity, 
but to have requited the instigator. 



I AM here, having left the hidden ahode of the dead, 
and the gates of darkness, where Hades dwells apart 
from the gods, — ^I, Polydorus, who am the son of 
Hecuba, daughter of Cisseus, and of Priam my father, 
who, when the danger of falling before a Grecian spear 
encompassed the city of the Phrygians, in fear sent me 
forth secretly from the land of Troy, to the halls of 
Polymestor, a Thracian friend; he who cultivates the 
most fertile plain of Chersonese, ruling vnth the spear 
a people rejoicing in steeds : and vnth me my father 
secretly sends forth a great treasure of gold, so that, 
whenever the walls of Ilium should fall, there might be 
no lack of subsistence to the surviving children. But 
I was the youngest of the children of Priam, for which 
reason, also, he secretly sent me forth from the land ; 
for I was unable either to bear armour or the sword in 
my boyish hand. So long, then, as the walls* of my 
country were standing, and the towers of the land of 

* 16. opifffiara, Moenia et & kXsiv' 'AOijv&v UaWddog 
turres recte intelligunt Scho- 0' opifffiara. — Matth. 
liastap. Sic Hippo]. 1459. 

6 HECUBA, Ql5 47. 

Troy were not yet broken down, and my brother 
Hector was prosperous with the spear, I sprung up like 
some young branch, fairly nurtured in the house of the 
Thracian, my father s friend, wretch that I am ! But 
wheb Troy and the life of Hector were lost, and my 
father's hearth was rooted up, and he himself had fallen 
before the god-built^ altar, — slain by the blood-stained 
son of Achilles, — ^then my father's friend slays me, the 
wretched one, for the sake of the gold; and having 
slain me, cast me forth into the surge of the sea, that he 
might keep the gold to himself in his house. And I 
lie now on the shore, now on the swelling sea, borne to 
and fro by the frequent ebb and flow of the waves, un- 
wept, unburied. But at this moment, having left my 
body, I glide forth on account of my dear mother 
Hecuba, being tossed about now for the third day, 
even so long as my ill-fated mother has been on this 
land of Chersonese from Troy. But all the Achseans, 
with their ships,* are sitting quietly upon the shores of 
this Thracian land ; for Achilles, son of Peleus, appear- 
ing over his tomb, has withheld the entire host of the 
Greeks from directing homeward the naval oar ; and he 
claims to receive my sister Poljrxena as a grateful 
victim at his tomb, and as a gift of honour. And this 
he will obtain, and will not be without this tribute 
from liis friends ; and fate leads my sister on to death 
this very day ; so that our mother will behold the two 
corpses of two of her children, both mine and the ill- 
fated damsel's. For I will show myself before the feet 

* 23. OsoSjiTiToCf by Poseidon nificare animadvertit Schol. — 

and A*pollo; but. Hoc loco Dind. 

non a diis conditum, sed diis ' 35. Others, holding their 

conditum sc. consecratum sig- ships, sc. at anchor. 

47 — 76.] HECUBA. 7 

of a slave on a wave of the sea, that I, wretched, 
may receive burial. For I have asked as a favour, of 
those who are mighty below, that I may meet with a 
tomb, and fall into the hands of my mother. Mine, 
then, shall be all, as much as I have desired to obtain ; 
but I will retire out of the way of the aged Hecuba ; 
for here she comes forth from [beyond P.] the tent of 
Agamemnon, terrified at my phantom. Alas ! my 
mother ! thou who, after the halls of princes, hast 
beheld the day of slavery, how ill thou farest now, 
just as thou didst once fare well! But some god is 
ruining thee, counterbalancing^ your former happiness. 


Lead, my children, the aged woman before the 
tents — lead me, ye Trojan damsels, raising up your 
Qnow P.] fellow-slave, but who was once your queen. 
Hold me — bear me — conduct me — support me, taking 
hold of my aged hand, — while I also, leaning upon the 
crooked staff, the staff of my arm, will hasten to ad- 
vance the tardy movement of my limbs. thou 
lightning of Jove! O pitchy Night! wherefore is it* 
that thus, in the night season, I am startled by terrors, 
by phantoms? revered Earth! mother of black- 
winged dreams, I discard the vision of night, the fearful 
vision concerning my son, who is preserved safe in 
Thrace, and concerning Polyxena, my beloved daughter, 
which I have learned, ^ I have been taught by dreams. 

* 58. See Liddell and Scott's Lat. tandem, how every how in 
Lexicon, avTiotiKout. the world, why I pray. 

* 69, Ti TTore must be infused ® 76. ^t' dvtiptjv tldov <f>o(Bi' 
into our language according to pdv, P. vision, which I have 
the sense ; ttots is equal to^ seen, &c. 

8 HECUBA. pG — 116. 

ye gods of this land,7 save my son, who, the only 
one that is left, and the anchor^ of my house, abides in 
snowy Thrace, in the guardianship of his father's friend. 
Some strange thing will happen ; there will come a 
song of mourning for the mournful. My mind is never 
so unceasingly agitated with horror and alarm. Where, 

1 pray, may I behold the inspired soul of Helen and 
Cassandra, ye Trojan damsels, that they may interpret 
me my dreams ? For I beheld a dappled hind, gored 
by the blood-stained^ claws of a wolf, dragged by force 
from my knees, a piteous sight. This, likewise, is a 
dread to me ; there appeared above the highest summit 
of his tomb the shade of Achilles, and he demanded, as a 
gift of honour, one of the much suflPering Trojan women. 
From my child, then, from my child, ye deities, avert 
this omen, I supplicate you. 


Hecuba, in haste have I bent my way to thee, having 
left my master's tents, where I have been allotted and ap- 
portioned a slave ; driven away from the city of Ilium, 
taken captive at the point of the spear by the Achseans, 
lightening none of thy sufferings, but bearing with me a 
heavy weight of tidings, and to thee, O lady, a herald 
of woe. For in full conclave of tlie Acheeans, it is said, 
that it has been determined to offer thy daughter a 
victim to Achilles; and thou knowest when, rising 
over his tomb, he appeared in golden panoply, 
and stayed the ocean-traversing barks as they were 
staying their sails with the cables, uttering aloud 

' 79. x0(5viot, Non inferi, ® 80. P. As it were the an- 

Bed ut recte unus Schol. ex- cbor. 

plicat ol ^yX^P*^'') ^^ ^''^^^'^'' ^90. at fiovt. Hermann takes 

— DiND. this word to mean ** eager," 

from dtaffut. 

116 — 155.] HECUBA. 9 

these words : — '' Whither, then, ye Danai, speed ye, 
leaving my tomh without a gift of honour?" But 
waves of mighty contention clashed together, and 
divided sentiments were going throughout the warrior 
host of the Greeks ; it seeming meet to some to offer a 
victim to the tomb, but to the others not so. And 
there was Agamemnon, zealously promoting thy good, 
constant to the bed of the inspired prophetess. But the 
two sons of Theseus,^ scions of Athens, were speakers 
of different sentiments, yet they both acquiesced in this 
one opinion, — to crown the tomb of Achilles with a 
libation of fresh blood ; and both affirmed, that they 
would never prefer the bed of Cassandra before the 
spear of Achilles. Now the earnestness with which the 
speeches were continued was perchance equal, until the 
crafty-minded, prating, honey-tongued speaker, the mob 
courtier, the son of Laertes, persuades the host not to 
reject the most valiant of all the Danai, for the sake of 
the sacrifice of a slave ;• nor suffer any of the dead, 
standing near Persephone, to say, that the Danai had 
departed from the plains of Troy, ungrateful to those 
Danai who perished in behalf of the Greeks. And 
Ulysses is all but here, to drag thy young one from thy 
bosom, and to tear her away from thy aged hand. But go 
thou to the temples, go to the altars, sit a suppliant at 
the knees of Agamemnon, proclaim it to the gods, both 
those of heaven and those beneath the earth ; for either 
thy prayers will prevent thee from being bereaved of 
thy wretched daughter, or thou must look upon the 
virgin hanging over the tomb, empurpled with blood, 
flowing in a darkly gleaming stream from her gold- 
encircled neck. 

^ 125. Acamas and Demophon. — Sgs. 

10 HECUBA. [155—187. 


Ah me, wretched! What shall I utter? What 
sound? What lamentation? Miserable from miser- 
able old age, from slavery not to be endured, not to 
be borne ! Woe is me ! Who will succour me ? 
What race, or what city ? My aged husband is gone — 
my children are gone — which way shall I take, this 
way or that ? or whither shall I advance P Where is 
there any god or any deity who will aid me? O 
ye Trojan damsels, who have brought evil tidings, 
who have announced accursed woes, ye have slain 
me utterly, ye have slain me. No longer is life 
desirable to me in the light of day. thou, my 
wretched foot, guide me, guide an aged woman to this 
tent ! O my child, daughter of a most ill-fated mother, 
come forth, come forth from the house ! Hear the voice 
of thy mother, my child, chat thou mayest know what 
a report, what a report, I hear, affecting thy life. 


O my mother, my mother, why criest thou aloud ? 
Heralding what new tidings, hast thou startled me, in 
this consternation, from the tent, like a bird from its 

Hec. Woe is me, my child ! 

Pol. Why utterest thou words of ill omen to me ? 
Methinks the preface is evil. 

Hec. Alas, for thy life ! 

Pol. Speak out, conceal it not so long; I fear, I 
fear, my mother: why in the world groanest thou 

Hec. my child, child of a wretched mother ! 

' 164. An accusative is want- ture is probably right : wol S* 
ing after fjeroi. Reiske's conjee- ^aoiTT^^a; — Dind. 

187—218.] HECUBA. 11 

Pol. What is this that thou announcest ? 

Hec. The puhlic decision of the Argives joins in 
determining to sacrifice thee at the tomh in honour of 
the son 5 of Peleus. 

Pol. Woe is me, my mother ! What direful evils 
dost thou utter ? Disclose them to me, disclose them, 
my mother. 

Hec. I tell thee, my child, ill-omened rumours. 
They report that a decree hath passed by vote of the 
Argives concerning thy life. 

Pol. thou who hast suffered dreadful treatment ! 
O thou all v^^retched ! O mother of ill-fated existence, 
what a wrong, what a wrong, most hateful and un- 
speakable, hath some deity again impelled against 
thee ! No longer shall I, thy child,* no longer now 
shall I, miserable, share slavery with thy miserable old 
age. For, as if I were some mountain-nurtured whelp, 
thou miserable shalt behold me, thy miserable offspring, 
torn from thy hand, and with severed throat sent down 
into the darkness that is beneath the earth, to Hades 
where I shall lie miserable among the dead. Thee, 
indeed, O my mother, ill-fated in thy life, I bewail with 
moaning of deep lamentation ; but mine own life, a life 
of outrage and wrong, I bewail not : nay death, a better 
lot, hath befallen me. 

Chorus. But lo ! Hecuba, hither comes Ulysses with 
hastened foot, to signify to thee some new command. 


Lady, I deem, indeed, that thou knowest the judg- 

• 191. UrfKiida, ykvva. P. interdum, pro nomine primi- 

O my daughter ! Vera est tivo posito. — Dind. 
altera interpretatio, UriXiida * 202. ovkbti aoi iraiQ &d*. 

ykvv^f id est ni)X€(i)i; ykvvtf,, P. I, thy child, liv^e no 

Achilli ; patronymico, ut fit longer. 

12 HECUBA. [218—241. 

ment of the anny and the decree that has prevailed ; but, 
nevertheless, I will declare it. It has seemed good to the 
Acheeans to offer thy daughter Polyxena, at the lofty 
mound of the tomb of Achilles. Moreover, they ap- 
point me to guide and escort the damsel ; but the son 
of Achilles is fixed upon as the superintendent of this 
sacrifice, and officiating priest. Knowest thou then 
what to do?* Neither be thou dragged away by 
violence, nor come to a trial of force with me; but 
acknowledge my strength, and the presence of thy 
calamities. 'Tis wise, in sooth, to have right feelings 
even in misfortunes. 

Heo. Alas ! a mighty struggle, as it seems, is at 
hand, full of groanings, and not void of tears. For I 
myself died not, when I should have died, and Jove 
destroyed me not ; but he preserves me, that I may look 
upon other woes greater than the old, wretched that I 
am. But if it be permitted to slaves to ask of the free, 
questions not grievous and not biting to the heart, it 
were good that thy speech should have been concluded,^ 
and that we who ask these questions should hear the 

Ul. It is permitted, ask on ; for I grudge not the 

Hec. Eememberest thou, when thou camest a spy 
against Ilium, both disfigured in unseemly raiment, and 
from thine eyes drops of gore^ trickled down thy 
cheek ? 

* 225. Literally, Do, dost "^ 2Al,<l>6vov, Recte Jacobs, 

thou know what? — Bentl. in Animadv. p. 4. cruorem in- 

^ 236. ffoi fikv dprjffOai telligit quo Ulixes foedatus 

XPBiov, A te peroratum esse I'rojam venerat secunduta 

oportet. — DiND. Horn. Od. i7. 244. — Dind. 

242—265.] HECUBA. 13 

Ul. I do remember : for not on the surface only did 
it touch my heart. 

Hec. And that Helen recognised thee, and divulged 
it to me alone ? 

Ul. I remember that I fell into great perils. 

Hec. And that thou didst clasp my knees in abject 
humility ? 

Ul. Yea, so that my hand even grew dead in thy 

Hec. What, then, saidst thou, being at that time my 
slave ? 

Ul. Devices of many words, so that I might escape 

Hec. Did I, then, save thee, and convey thee from 
the land ? 

Ul. Yea, so that I now look upon the light of to- 
day s sun. 

Hec. Art thou not, then, acting basely in these thy 
counsels, thou who hast received at my hands such boons 
as thou confessest to have received, but yet doest to me 
no good, but evil to the utmost of thy power ? An un- 
grateful generation is thine, all of you who aspire to the 
honours of popular harangue. Would that ye were not 
known to me, ye who care not for harming your friends, 
if ye do but speak somewhat to gratify the many. 
But what is it they deem this cunning argument to be, 
that they have decreed sentence of death against this 
damsel? Did destiny draw them on to slaughter 
human kind before the tomb, where it is more fitting to 
oflfer oxen ? Or is it wishing to inflict death, in retribu- 
tion on his slayers, that Achilles with justice designs 
death to her? But she, at least, has done him no 
wrong. He should have demanded pie should de- 


14 HECUBA. [265—293. 

niand P.] Helen as a sacrifice over his tomb ; for 'twas 
she who destroyed him, and who led him against Troy. 
But if it be required that some chosen captive, and one 
excelling in beauty, should die, this belongs not to us : 
for the daughter of Tyndarus is the most beautiful in 
form, and has been found guilty of no less an injury than 
we. On the ground of justice, indeed, I contend for 
this argument ; but as to what thou shouldst give in 
gratitude at my request, hear. Thou didst touch, as 
thou acknowledgest, my hand and my aged cheek, 
kneeling down before me : I, in turn, touch these same 
parts, and I ask back of thee the favour I then be- 
stowed on you ; and I implore thee, drag not away 
my child from mine arms — slay her not. There is 
enough of the dead. In her I rejoice and have oblivion 
of my woes ; she is my consolation in the place of many 
things ; she is my country, my nurse, my staff, the 
guide of my path. It becomes not them that have 
power to exercise that power in things they ought not, 
nor the prosperous to deem that they will ever « prosper. 
For I too was once in that state, but now I am no 
longer ; and one day robbed me of all my bliss. But 
by thy 9 beard, reverence my supplication, compassionate 
me : and, going forth to the host of the Acheeans, 
admonish them what a shame it is to be slaying women, 
whom at the first ye did not slay, dragging them from 
the altars, but had compassion on them. Now among 
you the same law concerning blood is laid down for the 
free and the slave alike. But thy rank, even if thine 

* 283. UpaTTiiv TTpa^iv, esjpecially Homer, when 0tXoc 

P. quod revocandum. — Dind. is joined to ijropt x«^f>» yovva, 

> 286. Thy, fiKov; this etc. 
sense is common in the poets, 

293—318.] HECUBA. 15 

argument fail, will persuade them : for the same words 
have not the same force when they proceed from the 
ignoble, as they have from the mouth of men of cha- 
racter J 

Chorus. There is no temper in mankind [What 
temper is there? P.]] so harsh, as, when it hears the 
wailing of thy moanings and prolonged lamentations, 
not to let fall a tear. 

Ul. Hecuba, be instructed by me, and do not in thy 
wrath* [prce ira] reckon him who speaks for thy 
good hostile to thee in spirit. I am ready, indeed, 
to preserve thy person, through which I have been 
successful ; and I say not otherwise. But what I de- 
clared before all I will not deny, that, when Troy 
should be taken, we should offer thy daughter a victim 
to the most valiant warrior of the host, at his demand : 
for in this most states are weak, when any citizen who is 
valiant and zealous bears off no higher rewards than 
those inferior to him. But at our hands Achilles is 
worthy of honour, O Lady, being one who has fallen 
most nobly for tlie land of Hellas. Is not it then 
disgraceful, if we treat one as a friend while he lives, 
but when he has gone [has perished P.] treat him as 
such nd longer ? Well, then ; what, I pray, will one 
say, if there should again appear a mustering of the 
host, and a contest against foes? Shall we fight, or 
shall we be fainthearted, when we see that the dead are 
not held in honour? Nay, indeed, for my own part 
living from day to day though I should possess but 
little, yet anything would suffice me ; but I should wish 

* 295. SoKovvT(ov=sivSoKog, ' 299. ry Ovfisfikvifi id est 

Tery rare : so £xa>v dives, ry Ovixtft, — Dino. 
pKknuiv, 1. 311, viyus. 

16 HECUBA. [318—349. 

for my tomb to be looked upon witb reverence ; for that 
honour lasts for a long time. But if thou sayest that 
thou sufferest woes deserving pity, hear this in reply 
from me. There are among us aged women and old 
men, no whit less wretched than thou art, and brides 
deprived of most valiant bridegrooms, whose corpses the 
dust of Ida here conceals. Endure these things: but 
we, if we adopt the custom of not honouring the brave, 
shall incur the blame of folly. But you barbarians 
neither deem your friends as friends, nor revere those 
who have nobly fallen ; so that Greece indeed shall be 
prosperous, but ye shall receive a lot in accordance with 
your counsels. 

Chorus. Alas ! how evil a thing it is to be a slave, 
and to endure what one should not endure, overpowered 
by force. 

Hec. O my daughter, my words indeed are vanished 
in the air, ejaculated in vain concerning thy death. But 
do thou, if thou hast any greater influence than thy 
mother, make every effort, pouring forth every sound, 
as it were the voice of a nightingale, that thou be not 
bereaved of life. And fall suppliantly before the knees 
of Ulysses here, and strive to persuade him ; for thou 
hast a reason for it ; for he too has children, so that he 
may sympathize in thy fate. 

Pol. I see thee, Ulysses, concealing thy right hand 
beneath thy robe, and turning thy face away, that I 
may not touch thy beard. Fear not : thou art safe 
from any appeal of mine to Jove the god of suppliants : 
for assuredly I will follow thee at all events, both 
because it is inevitable, and because I desire to die ; 
but if I shall not so wish, I shall show myself a base 
and a dastardly woman. For why should I live on? 

349—379.] HECUBA. 17 

I who had for a father the king of all the Phrygians ; 
this was the opening of my life. Then was I nurtured 
on fair hopes, a bride for kings, having no mean' rivalry 
for my hand, to whose halls, and hearths I should go. 
And I, the ill fated one, was mistress among the women 
of Ida, admired among virgins, equal to the gods [god- 
desses P.], save in death alone. But now I am a slave. ^ 
In the first place, indeed, the veiry name makes me 
desire to die, being an unwonted one; and in the next, 
I might perchance meet with a master cruel in his 
temper, some one who would purchase me for silver, — 
me, who am the sister of both Hector and many other 
princes; and, putting upon me the task of grinding 
com in his house, would compel me to sweep his halls, 
and to preside over the loom, passing my days in sor- 
row. And some purchased slave from anywhere would 
defile my bed, that was before deemed worthy of princes. 
No, in sooth, I will dismiss from my eyes this ifree 
light of heaven, presenting my body to Hades. Lead 
me, then, Ulysses, and kill me, leading me hence; for 
I see not any encouragement of hope or expectation 
near me, that it is possible for me ever to be happy. 
But thou, my mother, do not thoil stand in my way in 
anything, neither by word nor by deed : but consent 
for me to die before I meet with ignominy that is un- . 
worthy of me. For whoever is not accustomed to taste 
of calamity, bears it indeed, but grieves, placing his 
neck under the yoke : but dying, he would be far more 
fortunate than living on : for to live dishonourably is a 
great bane. 

Chorus. A marvellous and well marked stamp is it 

' 352. Otherwise, *' Con- on him to whose," etc. 
ferring no unennable marriage 

c 3 

18 HECUBA. [379—404.. 

among mortals to be bom of goodly parentage, and 
the name of noble birth is exalted yet higher among 
such as are worthy of it. 

Hec. Nobly indeed hast thou spoken, my child ; yet 
to that which is noble is added pain. But if the son of 
Peleus must needs be gratified, and you must escape 
blame, Ulysses, slay not her indeed ; but lead me to the 
funeral pyre of Achilles, stab me, spare not. 'Twas I 
brought forth Paris who slew the son of Thetis, striking 
him with the dart. 

Ul. Not thy death, O aged dame, did the shade of 
Achilles demand of the Acheeans, but this damsel's. 

Hec. Then slay me with my daughter, and there 
will be twice as great a draught of blood for the earth 
and for the dead who demands these offerings. 

Ul. The death of thy daughter is sufficient; one 
death must not be added to another. And would that 
we needed not this one ! 

Hec. It cannot, at least, be prevented that I die with 
my daughter. 

Ul. How so ? For I know not that I have any 

Hec. As the ivy to the oak, how will I cling to 

Ul. Nay, not at least if thou wilt be advised by 
those who are wiser than thyself. 

Hec. Be assured that of my own accord I will not 
let this damsel go. 

Ul. But neither will I, in sooth, go hence and leave 
her here. 

Pol. My mother, be prevailed upon by me; and 
thou, son of Laertes, be indulgent to a parent who is 
naturally incensed. But do thou, wretched mother, 

404—425.] HECUBA. 19 

contend not against the mighty. Dost thou wish to 
fall upon the ground, and to wound thy aged flesh, 
being pushed away by force, and to be treated in un- 
seemly manner by being dragged along by a youthful 
arm ? Which things thou wilt sufl^er : but do not thou 
at least act thus: for it is unworthy of thee. But, 
O my beloved mother, give me thy dear hand, and 
grant me to join cheek to cheek ; for never again, but 
now for the last time of aU, shall I look upon the 
beams and the orb of the sun. Thou art receiving now 
my last address. O my mother, O thou who brought 
me forth, I am now going to the realms below. 

Hec. O my daughter — but I shall live a slave in 
the light of heaven. 

Pol. I go without nuptial rites, without the bridal 
song, things I ought to have obtained. 

Hec. Pitiable art thou, my child, and I a wretched 

Pol. And there in Hades shall I lie bereft of thee. 

Hec. Woe is me ! what shajl I do ? where close my 

Pol. I shall die a slave, though I am the child of a 
free father. 

Hec. But I am bereft of at least fifty children, 

Pol. What shall I say for thee to Hector, or to thine 
aged husband ? 

Hec. Tell them, that I am the most wretched of all 

Pol. O ye breasts, and thou bosom which nourished 
me so sweetly ! 

Hec. O daughter of an untimely, a miserable fate ! 
[[wretched by reason of, &c.. P.] 

20 HECUBA. 1^425—446. 

Pol. Farewell, my mother, and farewell too Cas- 
sandra, for me [my Cassandra P.]. 

Hec. Others, farewell; but this is not for thy 

Pol. And my brother Polydorus, who is among the 
Thracians rejoicing in steeds. 

Hec. Aye, if he lives. But I distrust it ; so ill-fated 
am I in everything. 

Pol. He doth live ; and will close thine eyes when 
thou art dead. 

Hec, I for my part am dead through misery, before 
the time of death. 

Pol. Convey me hence, Ulysses, having enveloped 
my head in a robe ; for, indeed, before I am sacrificed, 
I have waxed faint at heart from the laments of my 
mother, and I waste her away in wailings. O thou 
light of heaven, for thy name I may yet address thee 
by, but I have no part in thee, save for so long as I am 
passing hence to the sword and the pyre of Achilles. 

Hec. Ah me ! I faint — and my limbs are failing ! 
O my daughter, touch thy mother, stretch forth thy 
hand, give it me, — leave me not childless — I am lost, my 
friends.^ Ah that I might behold the Laconian Helen, 
the sister of the twin sons of Jove ! for through the 
beauty of her eyes most shamefully hath she taken 
happy Troy . 

Chorus. Breeze, breeze of the sea, thou who con- 
veyest the swift ocean-traversing barks over the surge 

* 441-3. These lines are thioks they belong to the Cho- 

wholly improper for the mouth rus. Dindorf considers them 

of Hecuba, who ought to have spurious, 
fainted at 1. 440. Hermann 

446—483.] HECUBA. 21 

of the sea, whither wilt thou carry me, the wretched 
one ? Possessed in slavery, to whose house shall I 
arrive ? Will it be to some harbour of the Dorian land, 
or of the land of Pthia, where they say that Apidanus, 
father of fairest waters, fertilizes the plains ? or to that 
island* (miserable that I am, conveyed by the ocean- 
sweeping oar, enduring a pitiable existence in its abodes,} 
to that island where the first-born palm and the laurel 
put forth their sacred branches over beloved Latona,^ 
the adornment of those pangs of which Jove was the 
cause? And with the Delian damsels shall I extol 
the golden fillet and the bow of Artemis their god- 
dess ? Or in the city of Pallas, on the saffron veil of 
Athena of the beautiful chariot,7 shall I yoke the steeds 
to the car, embroidering it on curiously wrought webs, 
worked in light colours, or Qshall I depict] the brood of 
Titans whom Jove the son of Cronus lays to rest with 
flaming lightning ? Woe is me for my children, woe is 
me for my parents, and for my native land, which is 
cast down in ruin, blackening with smoke, captured 
with the spear by the Argives ; but I in a foreign land 
henceforth bear the name of a slave, having left Asia 
the handmaid of Europe,^ exchanging that name only 
for the chambers of Hades. 

^ 455. The construction is form, KoXXi^i^poT' : this is 

^ 7ropBv<niQ jie iv9a vqaiov, in order to avoid the hiatus, 

i. e. eiV T&v vqfnov eKtivrjv Dindorf would read KoXKidi- 

tv9a k,tX. — Matth. Other- <l>povg, gen. from KoXXiduJiprigf 

wise it may he construed, an unknown adjective. 

ff trpbc hpjiov vr\(Tuiv, to the ^ 483. The construction is, 

harbour of some island — that oLkXalacra {rov dovXri «- 

island where, etc. — Boisson. KXrjtrOai) "Aida OaXdfJLovg of 

« 461. Aiac vel diag est Soph. Ant. 944. Pflugk.— 

" Jovialis." — DiND. Otherwise : " Exchanging the 

^ 467. Person has the Ionic bridal chambers for the grave." 

22 HECUBA. • [483—510. 


Where shall I find her who was once the queen of 
Ilium, Hecuha, ye Trojan damsels ? 

Ch. Here she lies near thee, Talthybius, on her back 
upon the ground, enveloped in robes. 

Talth. O Jove, what shall I say? that thou re- 
gardest mortals ? or else that men have merely adopted 
this false notion to no purpose, holding that a race of 
deities exists, but that fortune controls all the affairs of 
mortals ? Was not this the queen of the Phrygians, 
abounding in gold ? Was she not the wife of Priam, 
who was so highly prosperous ? And now her country, 
indeed, is all subverted with the spear, and she herself 
a slave, an old woman, childless, grovels upon the earth, 
defiling her ill-fated head in the dust. Alas ! alas ! I 
truly am old ; but, nevertheless, may d^th be my lot, 
before I am involved in an ignominious fate of this 
kind. Stand up, thou unhappy one, and raise thy side, 
and thy hoary head from the ground. 

Hec. Well — ^who art thou, that wilt not suffer my 
body to lie in peace ? Why rousest thou me, whoever 
thou art, in my sorrow ? 

Talth. I am Talthybius who am come, a servant of 
the house of Danaus, Agamemnon having sent me for 
thee, O Lady. 

Hec. O thou fondest of men, can it be thou who 
hast come, because it seemeth good to the Acheeans to 
slay me also over the tomb? for thou wouldst then 
bring welcome tidings. Let us hasten, let us be quick, 
lead me on, old man. 

Talth. I am come to fetch thee that thou may^st 
bury thy daughter who is dead, O Lady : and the two 
sons of Atreus, and the host of the Acheeans sent me. 

510—538.] HECUBA. 23 

Hec. Ah me ! what wilt thou say ? art thou come 
then for me, not that I may die, but to announce evil 
tidings ? Thou hast perished, O my child, torn away 
&om my mother; and I am childless as to thee. O 
wretch that I am ! and how did ye make away with 
her ? Was it with feelings of respect ? or did ye make 
her fate terrible, slaying her as a foe, old man ? Speak 
on, although thou wilt relate no welcome words. 

Talth. Thou wishest me, O lady, to shed reiterated 
tears, in compassion for thy daughter ; for both now, in 
telling the woeful tale I shall bedew my eyes with 
tears, and I did so at the tomb also, when she perished. 
There was present indeed the whole multitude of the 
host of the Achseans in full assembly before the tomb, 
awaiting the sacrifice of thy daughter : and the son of 
Achilles having taken Polyxena by the hand set her 
upon the summit of the mound, and I stood near : and 
chosen selected youths of the Achaeans followed, to con- 
trol the boundings of thy young one with their hands. 
The son of Achilles, having taken in both hands a full 
goblet of solid gold, with one of them poured forth libations 
to his departed sire : and he gives me the signal to pro- 
claim silence to the whole host of the Acheeans. And 
I standing by his side uttered these words in the midst 
of them. — '*' Be silent, ye Acheeans ; let all the host be 
silent! Be still, keep silence!" Then I caused the 
multitude to stand still. And he said, '' O son of Pe- 
leus, and my father, receive at my hand these appeasing 
libations that evoke 9 the dead ; and come forth, that 
thou mayest drink the pure dark blood of a virgin, 
which we offer unto thee, both the host and I myself. 

' 536. dyiiyyo^e — others, that conduct or speed on their 

24 HECUBA. [538 — 568. 

But become thou propitious to us, and grant us to set 
loose the sterns and the mooring cables of our ships, and 
that, having met with an auspicious voyage home from 
Ilium, we may all arrive at our native land." So much 
he spake, and all the host offered up prayer. Then 
taking his gilded sword by the handle, he drew it forth 
from the sheath, and signed to the chosen youths of the 
Argive host to lay hold on the maiden. But when she 
was given to understand* it, she gave utterance to these 
words. — " O ye Argives, who have sacked my native 
city, I am willing to die : let no one touch my person, 
for I will offer my neck to the knife with a good cou- 
rage. But first, I entreat by the gods, having let me 
go free, that I may die a free woman, then slay me : 
for I should be ashamed to be called a slave among the 
dead, when I am a princess." Then the people shouted 
applause, and king Agamemnon ordered the young 
men to let the maiden go. [And as soon as they 
heard these last words from him in whom resided the 
supreme power, they let her go.] Then when she 
heard this command from her lord, she took hold of 
and rent off her garment from the top of the shoulder 
to the middle of her loins, by the navel, and showed her 
bosom and her chest, as of a statue, most beautiful : 
and bending her knee to the ground, she uttered the 
boldest speech of all. " Lo here, O youth, if indeed 
thou art desirous to strike my breast, strike on : or if 
thou wouldst rather strike under the neck, here is my 
throat ready for you." But he, not willing and yet 
willing, in pity for the damsel, divides with a sword 
the channels of her breath ; and streams of blood gushed 

* utg l^pdaOti* cvvrJKtv, tyvw, Mriatv* Hestch. 

568—597.] HECUBA. 25 

forth. But she, even in death, nevertheless was careful 
to fall in seemly sort, concealing what women ought 
to conceal from the eyes of men. But when she had 
breathed her last from the fatal blow, not one of the 
Achaeans was busied in the same task ; but some of 
them were casting leaves from their hands over the dead 
maiden, and others heap up the funeral pyre, bearing 
logs of fir ; and he who would bring nothing, heard 
levilings such as these from him who was carrying 
them : " Standest thou still, O vilest of men, having 
for the damsel no robe and no ornament in thy hands ? 
are you not going to offer somewhat to her of exceeding 
nobleness of heart, valiant in soul ?" Such things I tell 
thee concerning thy daughter who is no more : but thee 
I look upon of all women the most blessed in thy chil- 
dren and yet the most hapless. 

Ohob. a fearful tempest of woe hath boiled up 
against the house of Priam, and against my country. 
This is the fate ordained by heaven. 

Hec. O my daughter, I know not upon which of 
my miseries I shall direct my view, when so many are 
present ! For if I lay hold on any, that one does not 
suffer me ; and from another quarter some other grief 
calls me away, recruiting woe with woe. And now, 
indeed, I cannot blot out thy fate from my mind with- 
out groaning over it, but this, again, thou hast greatly 
lessened, in having been reported to me to have shown 
a noble spirit. Is it not strange, if a sterile soil, re- 
ceiving from the gods seasonable weather, bears a goodly 
com harvest, but a fertile soil, on the other hand, fail- 
ing of what it ought to have received, puts forth a bad 
crop ? while among men, the base bom is never any- 
thing else but base; but the noble is ever noble, nor 


26 HECUBA. [597—621. 

under the iufluence of calamity does he corrupt his 
natural disposition, hut is ever excellent. Is parentage 
or education the point of difference ? Certainly, how- 
ever, to have heen well nurtured carries with it the 
teaching of what is good ; but if one have fully learned 
this, he assuredly knows what is vicious, having learned 
it by the rule of virtue : and these matters my mind 
hath been striving after in vain. But go then, and 
signify this from me to the Argives; that it is my 
request that no one touch the damsel, but that they 
keep the crowd aloof. In sooth in an immense army 
an undisciplined multitude and the seamen's unchecked 
license is more furious than fire; and base is he ac^ 
counted who doeth not some base act. But do thou 
again take a vessel, my old attendant, and having im- 
mersed it in the salt sea, bring it hither, that in her 
last lavations I may wash my child and lay her out, 
my child, a hapless bride,' and an ill-fated virgin — as 
indeed she deserves, how can I ? I have not the power ; 
but with what means I have, I will : for what can I 
do ?3 but having collected ornaments from among the 
captive women who dwell about me within these tents, 
if any of them, without the knowledge of her new lord, 
possesses anything saved by stealth from her own home, 
[I will adorn her with them]|- O ye abodes, ye halls 
once fortimate ! O Priatn, with thy manifold and 
glorious possessions,^ most blessed in cMdren, and my- 

« 612. literally, as above, ♦ 620. The translation above 

a bride that is no bride; so, is according to the punctua- 

dirdpOtvov, a virgin that is no tion in the text ; but ** De- 

virgin. lendum comma post r' posi- 

'614. On the formula riiraOoy; turn: coherent enim koXXi- 

see Liddell and Scott's Die- trraT' lifTiKVioraTt" — Dind. 

tionarj wdcx^t 1- 2- So P., " And most blest in 

fairest children." 

621—062.] HECUBA. ' 27 

self, the aged mother of thy progeny, how have we 
fallen, stripped of our former dignity I Then, indeed, 
were we puffed up with arrogance, some of us dwelling 
in wealthy palaces, and others being held in honour by 
the citizens. But these things are nothing ; in vain are 
the counsels of deep thought and the boastings of the 
tongue. Most biassed is he to whom, day by day, 
there happens no calamity. 

Chorus. On me it was fated that calamity, on me 
it was fated that suffering should fall, when Alexander 
first hewed him down the pine wood of Ida, soon to 
steer his bark over the salt wave to the bed of Helen, 
the fiiirest dame on whom the sun shines with golden 
beam: for woes and compulsion mightier than woes 
revolve their course ; and from one man's folly a univer- 
sal curse of destruction hath come upon the land of 
Simois, and calamity at the hands of strangers. And 
the rivalry which the shepherd youth decided on Ida 
concerning the three daughters of blessed gods, was 
decided entailing (i. e, with the consequence of, enly) 
war and bloodshed and insult on my house. And Laco- 
nian maidens on the banks of fair flovdng Eurotas groan, 
as they shed many a tear in their homes, and mothers of 
children who have fallen are directing their hands against 
the hoary head, and tearing the cheek, pressing in the 
bloodstained nail to lacerate it. 


Ye women, where ever is Hecuba, the utterly vnretched, 
she who surpasses every man and the race of woman in 
misery ? No one will bear away the crown from her. 

Chorus. What is this, O thou wretched in thine ill- 
omened cry ? for thy grievous tidings never rest. 

28 • HECUBA. [662—689. 

Att. I bear this grief for Hecuba. But in woe it is 
not easy for mortals to speak words of good omen. 

Chorus. And see, she chances to be passing out from 
beneath the tent, and appears in good season for thy 

Att. O my mistress, wholly wretched, yea, even 
more than I express, thou art undone — thou no longer 
beholdest the light of heaven — childless, widowed, 
homeless, utterly ruined. 

Hec. Thou hast told me no new tale, but hast re- 
proached those who know it. But wherefore hast thou 
come, bringing hither this corpse of my Polyxena, whose 
burial was announced to me as being actively advanced 
by the hands of all the Acheeans ? 

Att. She knows nothing, but i (making lamentation 
to me for Polyxena, and touches not on her recent 


Hec. Woe is me, wretched ! it cannot be that thou 
bringest hither the prophetic and inspired Cassandra ? 

Att. Thou hast spoken of the living, but groanest 
not for this one who is dead. But inspect the person of 
this corpse, stripped of its coverings, and see whether it 
will appear a prodigy to thee and contrary to thy 

Hec. Woe is me, I behold my son Polydorus dead, 
whom the Thracian had to preserve for me in his halls. 
I am utterly ruined, miserable one, and I now no longer 
exist. O my child, my child, alas, alas ! I begin the 
frenzied strain, having but now learned my miseries of 
an avenging deity ! 

Att. What ! hast thou recognised the outrage of 
thy son, O thou ill-fated one? 

Hec. Incredible, incredible, strange, strange are the 

689—714.] HECUBA. 29 

things I behold ! One misery after another befalls me ! 
Never a day will ^ come upon me free &om groanings, 
free from tears. 

Chorus. Fearful, O thou wretched one, fearful are 
the woes we suffer ! 

Hec. O my child, child of a wretched mother, by 
what death didst thou die, by what mishap art thou 
lying here ? by the hand of what man ? 

Att. I know not : I chanced upon him on the strand 
by the sea. 

Hec. Oast ^ out on the smooth sand, or fallen a victim 
by the bloodstained spear ? 

Att. The ocean wave of the sea cast him forth. 

Hec. Woe is me! Alas, I have discovered the 
dream ^ the vision of mine eyes; the dark winged 7 phan- 
tom hath escaped me not, the vision which I saw con- 
cerning thee, my child, that thou wast no longer living 
in the light of heaven ! 

Chorus. Who then slew him ? canst thou who art 
versed in dreams 9 tell us? 

Hec. 'Twas my friend, my guest friend, the Thracian 
horseman, to whom his father secretly consigned him ? 

Chorus. Woe is me ! what wilt thou say ? that by 
sla3ning him he may keep the ^ treasure ? 

Hec. Things unspeakable, that cannot be described, 

* 690. afispa kiriffxriffu by the sea, or fallen, etc. 1 — 

dfiepa n^ kiTKTx- P* > olBeTrort Att. On the smooth sand of 

vravati fit &(ttb [j,^ SoKpveiv the sea an ocean wave cast him 

Matth. — i. «., Never will forth, 
any day see me cease from ? 704. fpdvfia, P. 

groanings and tears. ^ 709. 6vup6<bpov. P. O 

• 698. EK. iKpXriTov ij irk- thou who art skilled in dreams. 
Oflfia ^oiviov dopig ; GEP. * 712. e^^^i. P. " might 

kv ilfaudOtfi \tvpf irovrov keep." 
fc.r.X. V,—ue,f Hec. Cast up 

30 HECUBA. [714—742. 

exceeding prodigies, unholy, not to be endured ! where 
is the sacred obligation of hospitality ? O thou accursed 
among men, how hast thou cut his flesh in pieces, 
cleaving with iron blade the limbs of this my child, and 
hast not pitied him. 

Chorus. O hapless one, assuredly some god hath 
rendered thee the most woeful of mortals, whoeyer he is 
that presses hard upon thee. But henceforth let us be 
silent, my friends, for I see advancing hither the person 
of our lord Agamemnon. 


Hecuba, why delayest thou to come, and hide thy 
daughter beneath the tomb, on the same terms that 
Talthybius announced to me, — that none of the Argives 
should touch thy child ? We therefore let her be, and 
do not lay hands on her; but thou art loitering, so 
that I marvel at it. But I have come to send thee on 
that 9ervice : for matters there have been well performed, 
if aught of these deeds may be termed well. Ha ! 
what dead man of the Trojans in this, whom I see be- 
fore the tents ? for that he is not one of the Argives, the 
garments that enwrap his form announce to me. 

Hec. [Aside.'] Thou wretched one!— for I mean 
myself, when I say thou. O Hecuba, what shall I do ? 
shall I fall before the knees of this Agamemnon, or bear 
my ills in silence ? 

Ag. Wherefore, turning thy back upon my face 
wailest thou, and tellest me not what has been done ? 
who! this man fc ? 

Hec. {Astde."] But if, deeming me a slave and an 
enemy, he should thrust me from his knees, I should but 
add to my grief. 

743—766.] HECUBA. 31 

Ag. In sooth I am no prophet so as to find out the 
way of thy counsels, without hearing them. 

Hec. [Aside,"] Do I not calculate too much on the 
hostility of this man*s disposition, when he is not hostile 
to me? 

Ag. If, indeed, thou desirest me to know nothing about 
these matters, thou hast come to the same point as my- 
self ; for neither do I desire to hear. 

Hec. [Aside.] 1 cannot without this man's help 
avenge my children. Why do I revolve these thoughts? 
I must take courage, whether I succeed or not. Aga- 
memnon, I supplicate thee by these thy knees, and by 
thy beard and thy blest right hand. 

Ag. Craving what boon ? 'Tis not to pass thy life in 
freedom ? for that were easy for thee to obtain. 

Hec. No, indeed ; but if I may avenge me on the 
base, I am willing to be a slave all my life long. 

Ag. And to succour thee in what, dost thou call 
upon me ? 

Hec. In none of those matters which thou conjec- 
turest, O king. See'st thou this corpse, over which I 
let fkll my tears ? 

Ag. I see it : the sequel, however, I cannot perceive. 

Hec. Him once I brought forth, and bore in my 

Ag. And is this one of thy children, O wretched 

Hec. Not one of the sons of Priam who fell under the 
walls of Troy. 

Ag. Wliat, didst thou bring forth any other besides 
them, O lady ? 

Hec. Little to my profit, as it seems, this one whom 
thou lookest on. 

32 HECUBA. [767—784. 

Ag, But where did he happen to be when the city 

Hec. His father sent him away fearing lest he should 

Ag. To what spot, having separated him alone from 
the rest of his children ? 

Hec. To this land, even where he was found dead. 

Ag. To the man who rules over this country, Poly- 
mestor ? 

Hec. Hither was he sent^ the guardian of treasure 
most woeful to him. 

Ag. But by whose hand did he die, and with what 
fate met he ? 

Hec. By the hands of whom else ? His friend the 
Thracian slew him. 

Ag. What a wretch ! he longed, as I suppose, to get 
possession of the gold ? 

Hec. Even so, after he had learned the fate of the 

A& But where didst thou find him, or who brought 
the corpse hither ? 

Hec. This woman, who found it on the sea shore. 

Ag. Was she seeking for it, or engaged in some other 
occupation ? 

Hec. She had gone to fetch water from the sea to 
wash the body of Polyxena. 

Ag. His host, as it appears, having slain him cast 
him forth. 

Hec. Yea, tossed by the waves, having thus severed 
bis body in twain. 

Ag. O thou much suffering one, from thine immea- 
surable woes ! 

Hec. I am imdone, and there is no evil yet left me, O 
Agamemnon ! 

785 — 810.] HECUBA. 33 

Ao. Alas, alas! what woman so unfortunate was 
ever born. 

. Hec. There is none such, save only if thou shouldst 
name misfortune herself. But the causes for which I 
fall before thy knees, hear them. If, on the one hand, 
I appear to thee to suffer what is right, I will be con- 
tent ; but if the contrary, do thou become my avenger 
on this man, a most impious host, he who fearing 
neither the gods below nor those above the earth hath 
perpetrated a most unholy deed : he who often having 
shared with me the same table, [and, in the list of 
friendship, holding the first^ place among my friends ; 
and having received all that was his due and taken 
precaution']] has murdered my son, and, though he 
chose to murder him, deemed him not worthy of a 
tomb, but cast him forth into the sea. I am both a 
slave, and perchance powerless: but the gods are 
mighty, and the law which governs them : for by the 
law we believe that there are gods, and we live under 
well defined distinctions of right and wrong. And if 
that law, when referred to thee, shall be corrupted, and 
they shall not suffer punishment who murder their 
guests or dare to bear off things sacred to the gods, 
there is no longer any equity in the affairs of mortals. 
Holding these things, then, in a disgraceful point of 
view, have respect for my calamities, compassionate me; 
and, like a painter standing at a distance, look on me 
and narrowly observe what evils I am enduring, I was 
once a queen, but am now thy slave : I was once happy 
in my children, but am now an old woman, and at once 

' 794. TTpwroc wv. P.— or, having experienced respect 
** being the chief." from me, 

' 796, Xapijv TTpofiriOiaVf 

34 HECUBA. [811—838. 

childless, homeless, desolate, the most wretched of mor- 
tals. Woe is me, miserable! whither dost thou 
stealthily withdraw thy foot from me?' Methinks I 
shall fail of my suit, miserable that I am ! Why then 
do we mortals toil after and search into all other sciences, 
as is right, but Persuasion, the sole queen among men, 
strive not to learn any more earnestly than the rest, by 
paying a price? in which case it would be possible 
sometimes to persuade men to what one desired and at 
the same time to obtain one's wish. How then hence- 
forth can any one hope to be prosperous ? My children 
indeed, though they were so many, no longer live for 
me, and I mys^f a captive in ignominy am going 
hence, while I see the smoke there leaping up from 
above my dity. And yet, perchance this part of my 
speech is vain, the putting forward love as a plea : but 
nevertheless it shall be spoken. By thy side sleeps my 
daughter, the prophetess, whom Phrygians name Cas- 
sandra. Where then wilt thou show those nights of 
love, O king? or for her sweet caresses in thy bed, 
shall my child have any favour at thy hands, and I for 
her sake? [For 'tis from darkness, and the love- 
chaims of night that by far the highest gratification is 
created among mortals.^ Hear me then [now P.]| : 
see'st Uiou this dead body ? By doing well towards 
him, thou wilt do well to one allied to thee. My speech 
lacks one thing yet. O that I had a voice in my arms 
and hands and hair and footsteps, by the art of Dee'^ 

* 812. TTOi fi' vTTtKayeig approved hy Dindoffl The 
voda ; " Sensus esse videtur : old grammarians would under- 
Quo meum pedem subducis, stand KaTd at iroda ; but it 
t. e,, quo me cogis te sequi V* — seems to us more applicable 
P. But the translation in the to /i\ 
text is given by Pflagk, and 

838—865.] HECUBA. 35 

ddlus or of some one of the gods, that one and all might 
cling to thy knees, wailing, urging upon thee every 
form of language ! O my lord, O thou greatest light 
of the Greeks, grant my request; stretch forth thine 
avenging hand over this old woman, even though she is 
nothing, yet stretch it forth. For 'tis the part of a 
nohle man to be the minister of justice, and always in 
every place to punish the wicked. 

Chor. Strange it is, how all things befall mortals, 
and how the laws have determined the bounds of neces- 
fflty, both rendering those friends who were most at 
enmity, and considering those who were before in friend- 
ship as foes. 

Ao. For thee and thy son and thy misfortunes, He- 
cuba, and for thy hand stretched forth in supplication, 
I have compassion; and I am desirous both for the 
sake of the gods and for the sake of justice, that the 
impious host should pay thee this penalty, if by any 
means it might appear both that thou shouldst be satis- 
fied, and I might not seem to the army to have plotted, 
for the sake of Cassandra, this murder against the king 
of Thrace. For here it is where^ confusion has come 
upon me. This man the army considers as friendly to 
them, but him who is dead as their foe ; and even if this 
man is friendly to thee, this is a separate matter and not 
participated in by the army. Wherefore take thought : 
for thou hast me ready indeed to cooperate with thee 
and swift to assist thee, but backward, if I shall be sus- 
pected among the Acheeans. 

Heo.* Alas ! there is no one of mortals who is free. 
For either he is the slave of wealth or fortune ; or the 

* 857. Or ttrriv j , Anglice, some how or other. 

36 HECUBA. [865- 889. 

majority of his countrymen or prescribed laws oblige 
him to adopt manners not in accordance with his feel- 
ings. But since thou art alarmed and considerest the 
multitude overmuch, I will set thee free from this 
cause of dread. For be thou indeed privy to it, what- 
ever mischief I devise against him who slew this my 
son, but join not with me in the performance. But if 
any tumult or assistance should show itself on the part 
of the Acheeans, while the Thracian is suffering what 
he shall suffer, do thou restrain them, not seeming to do 
so for my sake ; and as to the rest, fear not : I will 
make all weU. 

Ag. How so, then ? what ynli thou do ? wilt thou 
take a sword in thine aged hand and slay the barbarian 
wight, or wilt thou do it with poison, or by the aid of 
what means ? What hand will be with thee ? whence 
wilt thou get thee friends ? 

Hec. These tents envelope a multitude of Trojan 

Ag. The captives thou meanest, the spoil of the 
Greeks ? 

Hec. With the aid of these I will avenge me on my 

Ag. And how shall women possess the strength of 
men ? 

Hec. Their numbers are formidable, and, with craft, 
hard to contend against. 

Ag. Formidable indeed. The female sex, however, I 
hold in little esteem. 

Hec. Why so ? were they not women who slew the 
sons of ^gyptus, and unpeopled Lemnos utterly of 
males ? But thus let it be ; let this argument, indeed, 
pass : do thou have this woman escourted safely through 

889—921.] HECUBA. 37 

the host. And do thou, drawing near to the Thracian 
stranger, say, ^' She who was once the queen of Ilium, 
Hecuha, sends for thee, for thine own advantage no less 
than hers thee and thy children; for it is necessary 
that thy children also have knowledge of the words she 
will speak." And do thou, Agamemnon, put off the 
burial of the newly slain Polyxena, that these two, 
brother and sister, the divided care of their mother, may 
side by side with one funeral fire be hidden beneath the 

Ag. So shall it be. For even if it were possible for 
the armament to sail, I could not have refrained from 
granting thee this boon; but as it is, since the Gods 
send not favourable gales, we must remain perforce, 
looking for a quiet voyage. But, in some way or other, 
may it turn out well : for this is the common interest 
of all, both privately to the individual, and to the state 
likewise, that the evil man on the one hand should 
suffer some evil, but that the good should prosper. 

Chorus. Thou indeed, O my native land of Ilium, 
shalt no longer be called a city of those that are 
unravaged : such a cloud of Greeks now envelopes thee 
round about, having laid thee waste with the spear, with 
the spear. And thou hast been shorn of thy coronet of 
towers, and hast been defiled with a most piteous pollu- 
tion of thick smoke, wretched that thou art ; no longer 
shall I tread thy streets. 'Twas in the depth of night 
I perished, when after feasting, sweet sleep is spread 
over the eyes, and when from songs and sacrifices 
causing the dance my husband resting ^ lay calmly in 
his bed chamber, and his dart hung upon the nail ; not 

^ 917. KarairavtraQ, The signification is anon^alous. 
use of the act. in an intransitive 

38 HECUBA. [921—958. 

now expecting a naval host would mount the walls of 
Ilium, But I was arranging my braids with the bands 
that tied up my hair, looking into the golden mirror's 
countless rays, that I might go to my couch.^ But 
there came a din throughout the city ; and this was the 
cry of exhortation through the citadel of Troy : " Sons 
of the Greeks, when then, when, having laid waste the 
watchtower of Ilium will ye return home?" But 
having quitted my dear bed, in a single robe like some 
Doric maiden, sitting a suppliant before revered Artemis 
yet I profited nothing, wretch that I am ! But after 
beholding my husband slain, I am borne away over the 
ocean surge ; and looking back upon my city, now that 
the ship had commenced its homeward voyage, and 
separated me from the land of Ilium, wretch that I am, 
I sink under my grief ; devoting to curses Helen the 
sister of the twin sons of Jove, and the Ideean shepherd 
Paris the author of ill ; since marriage, which was no 
marriage, but some woe wrought by an avenging fiend, 
hath utterly destroyed me, and hath banished me from 
my home. But never may the ocean wave conduct her 
back again ; never may she arrive at the house of her 
fathers ! 


O Priam, fondest of men, and thou, Hecuba, best- 
beloved, I shed tears when I behold both thy city, and 
thy daughter who has so lately fallen. Alas ! there is no- 
thing on which we may rely, no assurance that the 
man who is prosperous will not meet with calamity ; 

^ 927 J kirtdEfiviog, "lege xafiaiTrEriycTtTrreiTrpocow^ac* 

iTTidsfivioVf et verte, torum ves- Dind. Liddell and Scott seem 

tibus stratum." P. Buta simi- to favour Porson^s reading, 
lar tautology occurs, Bacch. 11, 

958—988.] HECUBA. 39 

but the Gods mingle them up together to and fro, bring- 
ing in confusion, that in our ignorance we may worship 
them. But why need I utter these complaints, not 
advancing to the evils before us ? But if tliou findest 
any fault because of my absence, forbear : for I chanced 
to be away in the heart of Thrace when thou earnest 
hither : but when I came home, straightway as I was 
setting my foot out of my palace, this thine attendant 
falls in with me, bearing thy message, on hearing which 
I have come to thee. 

Hec. I blush to look thee in the face Polymestor, 
being plunged in such calamities. For with one by 
whom I have been seen in my prosperity, shame haunts 
me at being in this plight, in which I now am, and I 
could not look upon thee with unaverted eyes. But 
deem not this illwill towards thee, Polymestor; for 
custom else is in some degree my excuse, that women 
should not stare men in the face. 

PoLYM. Aye, and 'tis no wonder. But what need 
hast thou of me ? on what errand hast thou summoned 
my foot forth from my home ? 

Hec. I wish to communicate a certain secret of my 
own to thee and to thy children. But bid thine at- 
tendants stand apart from these tents. 

PoLYM. Begone : for this lonely spot is safe. Thou 
indeed art a friend, and this army of Acheeans is 
friendly towards me : but thou must signify to me 
what assistance he who is prosperous must afford to his 
friends who are in adversity ; as I for my part am ready. 

Hec. First tell me of my son Polydorus, whom 
being received from my hands and from his father's, 
thou hast in thy palace, — is he yet alive ? and the rest 
I will ask thee in the second place. 

ttO HECUBA, [089 — 1003. 

PoLYM. Assuredly he is ; so far as he is concerned, 
thou art fortunate. 

Hec. O most fond one, how well thou speakest, and 
how worthily of thyself ! 

PoLYM. What then is the second thing thou desirest 
to learn of me ? 

Hec. "Whether he still has any recollection of me his 
mother ? 

PoLYM. Aye; he even sought to come hither to 
thee secretly. 

Hec. And is the gold safe which he had when he 
went from Troy ? 

PoLYM. It is safe — at least it is guarded in my 

Hec. Preserve it then, and covet not thy neighbour's 

PoLYM. By no means. May I be content with 
what I have, O lady. 

Hec. Know'st thou then what I wish to say to thee 
and thy children ? 

PbLYM. I know not ; thou must signify this in thine 
own words. 

Hec. May he (t. e, my son) be loved,^ even as now 
thou art beloved by me. 

PoLYM. What matter is it, which I and my children 
are to know ? 

Hec. The ancient caverns that hide the treasures of 
the house of Priam. 

PoLYM. Is it this that thou desirest me to communi- 
cate to thy son ? 

^ 1000. ItJTia 0iX}}dciCi scri- It is, O tbou beloved, as now 
bendum cum Hermunno tar*, thou arc, etc.) 
<tf 0(X}}def( K.r.X. DiNO. (i, e.. 

1004—1022. HECUBA. 41 

Hec. Most assuredly, and at any rate through thee ; 
for thou art a pious man. 

PoLYM, What need then of the presence of these 

Hec. 'Twere better, if thou die, that these should 
know it. 

PoLYM. Thou hast spoken well in this matter, and 
more wisely than myself. 

Hec. Know'st thou then where the temple of Ilian 
Minerva stands ? 

PoLYM. Is the gold there ? But what is the token ? 

Hec. a black stone rising above the ground. 

PoLYM. Dost thou desire to signify anything further 
to me, of what is there ? 

Hec. I wish thee only to preserve the treasures with 
which I came forth from the city. 

PoLYM. Pray, where are they ? Hast thou them in 
concealment under thy robes ? 

Hec. They are preserved within these tents, among a 
heap of spoils. 

PoLYM. Where sayest thou? These are the naval 
fences of the Achseans. 

Hec. The apartments of the captive females are 

PoLYM. But is all right within, and free from the 
presence of males ? 

Hec. There are none of the Acheeans within, but 
we women only. But go thou within the tents ; for 
the Argives are anxious to loosen the cables that detain 
their ships, in homeward course from Troy : so that, 
having effected all that is requisite for thee to do, thou 
mayest return with thy children thither where thou liast 
planted my son. 

42 HECUBA. [1022—1044. 

Chorus. Not yet hast thou suffered, yet perchance 
thou wilt suffer retrihution, as one falling athwart into 
the sea which offers no place of safety is deprived® of 
his loved soul, losing his life. 9 For where ^ it occurs 
to the same person to be obnoxious to human justice 
and divine vengeance, deadly, deadly is the evil. Thine 
expectation concerning this errand will deceive thee, the 
expectation which hath led thee on to deathbearing 
Hades, O thou wretched one ! and by a hand unused to 
war thou shalt quit thy life. 

PoLYM. O me ! I am deprived of the light of mine 
eyes, wretch that I am. 

Chorus. Heard ye the wail of the Thracian, my 
friends ? 

PoLYM. Alas ! again alas ! my children, what dread- 
ful slaughter ! 

Chorus. My friends, strange deeds of woe have been 
perpetrated within the tents. 

PoLYM. But never shall ye escape me with your 
nimble foot ; for with blows I will, break open the 
recesses of these abodes. 

Chorus. Hark, the blow of his heavy hand is urged 
impetuously ! will ye that we rush in ? for the crisis calls 
upon us to be present as a succour to Hecuba and the 
Trojan dames. 


Strike on, spare not at all, breaking open the gates : 

' 1026. itcwktryf e consue- prived another (so. Poljdorus) 

tudine Homerica dictum est. of his life. — Scuolef. 

Vid. Matih. Gr. Gram., § 521, » 1030. ov, P. "Scriben- 

not. 3. But Dindorf prefers dum ov [sense of oTrov, Mus- 

kKTrefry^kKirecH, which is to be grave] commate poet ^vfiiriTvei 

referred to Polymestor — t. e., posito." Dind. Onthisautho- 

ihalt thmi be deprived off etc. rity, oif being unintelligible, ov 

' 1027. dfispaaQ, or, (after has been adopted in the trans- 

tbe translation which Dindorf lation. 
^prefers, Transl.) having de- 

1045—1074.] HECITBA. 43 

for neyer shalt thou set the bright organ of sight in 
thine eyeballs, nor ever behold aliye, thy children whom 
I have slain. 

Chorus. Hast thou really then destroyed the Thra- 
cian, and gained the mastery over the stranger, my 
mistress? and hast thou achieved such deeds as thou 
sayest ? 

Hec, Thou wilt behold him straightway before the 
tents, blind, advancing vrith dark staggering step ; and 
the bodies of his two children, whom I have slain, with 
the aid of the bravest of the Trojan dames : and 
he has paid me the penalty. But hither he comes, as 
thou seest, forth from the tents. But I will begone 
from his path, and retire from before the boilmg wrath 
of this Thracian most fierce in conflict. 


Woe is me ! where can I set my foot, where stand ? 
where shall I go, moving with the step of a fourfooted 
beast of the mountains on my hands along their footprint? 
what way shall I turn, this or that, longing to clutch the 
murderous women of Ilium, who have utterly destroyed 
me ? O ye wretches, ye wretches, daughters of Phry- 
gians, O ye accursed ones ! Into what lurking places 
do they crouch from me in flight? Oh that thou 
wouldst heal, O sun, wouldst heal my gory orb of 
vision, ridding me of this dreary blindness*. Ah! 
Ah! — Hist, Hist! I hear the hidden step of wo- 
men ! How might I springing forth glut myself 
on their flesh and bones, making the meal of savage 
beasts, earning myself shame, a recompense for the 
outrage I have suffered ? O wretch that I am ! whither, 

' 1068. TV<J>\bv 0£yyoc. cf. Med. 993. dXkOpiov fiiordv. 

U HECUBA. f 1074— 1108. 

how am I borne along, leaving my children deserted for 
these bacchanals of hell to rend in pieces, and as a 
savage prey slain for hounds to devour, and to be cast 
out on the wild mountains? Where can I stand, 
where set my foot, where shall I rest P I who, like a 
bark furling its linen woven sail with sea dipt cables, 
have rushed, the guardian of my children, into this 
lair of death ? 

Chorus. O wretched one, what intolerable woes have 
been inflicted upon thee ! But for him who hath done 
shameful deeds the God hath decreed fearful retribu- 
tion, whoever it is that oppresses thee. 

PoLYM. Woe, woe! Hither, ye tribes of Thrace, 
wielding the spear, equipped * in arms, riders of gallant 
steeds, servants of Mars ! Help, ye Acheeans ! Help, 
ye sons of Atreus ! For succour, succour, I cry aloud, 
for succour ! Oh hither come,* in the name of heaven ! 
Does any hear, or will no one aid me ? Why do ye 
delay ? Women have destroyed ^me, captive women. 
Dreadful, dreadful things have I suffered ! Woe is 
me for my shame! Whither can I betake myself? 
Whither can I go ? Flying aloft into the ether of 
heaven shall I betake myself to the divine abodes where 
Orion or Sirius dart forth from their eyes flaming beams 
of fire ? or shall I speed to the gloomy ferry of Hades, 
wretch that I am ? 

Choi^us. Tis pardonable, when one has met with 
evils too great to bear, for him to quit a wretched 

3 1079. ira Ka/iyj/u) ira pw. P. ^ 1093. w tr£- It* Ire. P« 

* 1089. ivoirXov evoirXov. 
P. well equipped. 

1109—1131.] HECUBA. 45 


Hearing an outcry, I am come hither : for with no 
gentle voice has Echo, daughter of the mountain crag, 
spoken throughout the army, producing uproar. And 
had we not known that the towers of the Phrygians 
had fallen before the spear of the Greeks, this din would 
have caused alarm in no slight degree. 

PoLYM. O dearest of men, for I recognised thee, 
Agamemnon, when I heard thy yoice, seest thou what 
sufferings I endure? 

AoAM. Ha ! miserable Polymestor, who hath de- 
stroyed thee ? Who hath deprived thine eye of sight, 
suffusing thine eyeballs with blood ? and who hath slain 
these thy children ? Assuredly great indignation must 
he have had against thee and thy children, whoever 
he was. 

PoLYM. 'Tis Hecuba, who with captive women has 
ruined — not ruined, but more than ruined me. 

Agam. What sayest thou? Hast thou done this 
deed, as he says ? Hast thou, Hecuba, dared this in- 
conceivable act of boldness ? 

PoLYM. O me, what wilt thou say ? Is she, then, 
somewhere near me ? Show me, tell me where she is, 
that clutching her in my hands I may rend her asunder, 
and mangle her flesh. 

Agam. Ho there, what dost thou ? 

PoLYM. By the gods I entreat thee, let me lay my 
frantic hand upon her. 

Agam. Hold !' And when thou hast cast out thy 
barbarian temper from thy heart, speak; that having 
heard both from thee and her in turn the reason why 
thou sufferest this, I may decide with justice. 

46 HECUBA. [1132—1159. 

PoLYM. I will speak. There was one of the sons of 
Priam, the youngest, Polydorus, a son of Hecuba, 
whom his father Priam commits to me from Troy, to 
bring up in my house, having then some suspicion^ of 
the capture of Troy. Him I slew : and the reason why 
I slew him, now hear ; how prudently I did it and with 
what careful forethought. I feared lest this son, being 
left a foe to thee, should gather the Trojans together, 
and join in repeopling Troy : and that the Acheeans, 
having found that one of the house of Priam was aUve, 
should again ^ make an expedition against the land of 
the Phrygians, and should then harass these Thracian 
plains and drive off the plunder ; and evil should come 
upon the neighbours of the Trojans, the evil under which, 
O king, we are now labouring. But Hecuba, when 
she learned the fatal end of her son, brought me hither 
vrith some pretext like this, that she would tell me of 
the hidden treasuries of gold belonging to the house of 
Priam, in Ilium : and she introduces me alone with my 
children into the tent, that no one else might know 
these secrets. And I seat myself on the centre of a 
couch, bending my knees ; and there were sitting there 
many damsels of the Trojans, some on my left hand 
and some on my right, as if forsooth beside a friend ; 
holding in their hands a loom of Edonian workmanship, 
and were praising it, inspecting these garments at the 
light : but others, viewing the shaft of my Thracian 
javelin, deprived me of a twofold attire. And as many 
as had been mothers were tossing my children in their 
arms as if greatly admiring them, so that they might be 
far from their father, changing them about from hand 

* 1135. Uttotttoc active. Por- ' 1141. ajoeiai/* alpouv. P. 


1159—1189.] HECUBA. 47 

to hand ; and then, after words of wondrous gentle- 
ness — how thinkest thou ? suddenly grasping swords 
from somewhere beneath their robes, they stab my chil- 
dren ; while others, just like enemies, seizing my hands 
and limbs held me ; and when I desired to succour my 
children, if indeed I strove to raise my face, they held me 
down by the hair ; or if to move my hands, from the mul- 
titude of women I wretched was powerless. But at last, 
a woe full of woe, they perpetrated most horrid deeds : 
for having taken their buckles they pierce, they mangle the 
balls of mine eyes ; then through the tents they escaped 
in flight ; and I springing forth like a wild beast, pursue 
the murderous hounds, examining every wall, like a 
huntsman, striking, beating down. Such treatment 
have I suffered, while striving to promote thy interests, 
and for having slain thy enemy, Agamemnon. But 
that I may not prolong my speech, if any one in time 
past has spoken ill of women, or if there be any one now 
so speaking, or shall be so hereafter, all this I will express 
in a few words : neither sea nor land produces such a 
race of creatures ; and every man that meets them 
knows it. 

Chorus. Speak not so proudly, nor, connecting the 
female sex with thine own evils, thus abuse them all ; 
for most of us are indeed praiseworthy, ^ but some are 
in the number of the vicious. 

Hec. Agamemnon, with men never ought their 
tongue to have greater force than their deeds ; but if a 
man has done virtuous actions, virtuous ought his argu- 

^ 1185. iiri(f>9ovoi» The is by no means the sense of 

scholiasts explain this word to kiritpOovoi, which means *'ob- 

mean ^riXwTal, iiraivtrai ; noxious to envy." This and 

which is the sense obviously the following line are considered 

required by the passage, but spurious by Dindorf. 

48 flECUBA. [1189— 1217» 

ments to be, and if on the other hand vicious actions, 
then should his reasons be unsound, and never should 
he have the power of defending unjust deeds by fair 
v^ords. Clever are they, however, who are well versed 
in these arts, though they cannot continue clever to 
the last, but miserably have they perished ; none hath 
hitherto escaped. And so far in my prelude is what 
concerns thee, Agamemnon : but against this man I 
will proceed, and with arguments I will answer his — 
thou who sayest that, in releasing the Achaeans from 
redoubled toil, and for the sake of Agamemnon, thou 
hast slain my son. But, thou vilest of men, in the first 
place never can the barbarian race be friendly to the 
Greeks, no, never can this be : and again, seeking what 
favour wast thou so zealous ? Was it to contract alli- 
ance with one of them, or that thou wert of kindred 
blood, or with what pretext ? Or were they likely to 
cut down the produce of thy land, making a second 
voyage ? Whom dost thou think to persuade to this ? 
'Twas the gold, if thou wouldst speak the truth, that 
slew my son, and thy greediness for gain. For inform 
me of this : how was it when Troy prospered, and her 
towers yet held the city round about, and Priam was 
alive, and the spear of Hector flourished, why didst 
thou not then, since as thou sayest thou wast desirous 
to confer a favour on this man, while thou wast bringing 
up my child, and hadst him in thy palace, why didst 
thou not slay him, or come and drag him alive to the 
Argives ? But when we were no longer in the light of 
fortune, and our citadel announced [was announcing P.] 
by its smoke that it was in the hands of our enemies, 
then didst thou slay a guest who had come to thy 
hearth. In addition to this then, hear how base thou 

1217—1245.] HECUBA. 49 

slialt appear. Thou wast bound, if thou wast a friend 
to the Achceans, to have brought the gold which thou 
confessest that thou hast, not thine own but this inan's^ 
and to have given it to men in need and for a long time 
banished from their fatherland. But thou hast not even 
up to this time the courage to release it from tliy hand, 
but continuest still to hold it in thy palace. And yet 
by nurturing my son; as thou wast bound to nurture 
him, and by preserving him, thou wouldst have gained 
fair honour : for in adversity are those friends who are 
good most clearly seen ; but prosperity itself, in each 
case, has its own frieYids. And if thou wert in want of 
money, and ho had been prosperous, my son would have 
been to thee for a mighty treasure: but now neither 
hast thou that man for a friend to thee, and the profit 
of the gold is gone, and thy children too, and thou thy- 
self farest thus. But to thee, Agamemnon, I say, if 
thou shalt succour this man, thou wilt appear base. 
For thou wilt do well by a stranger who is neither pious 
nor faithful to those to whom he should have been so, 
who is not holy, who is not just. But thyself I will 
bid enjoy thy miseries, being such as thou art ; but my 
lord I revile not. 

Chorus. Alas, alas ! How do good deeds ever give to 
mortals an occasion for good arguments. 

Agam. 'Tis grievous indeed for me to decide upon 
the evils of others : but nevertheless it is compulsory 
on me : for it even involves disgrace for me, having 
taken this business in hand, now to reject it. To me 
then, that thou mayest know, thou appearest to have 
murdered one who was thy guest not for my sake, 
much less for the sake of the Achaeans ; but that thou 
mightst keep the treasure in thine own house. But 


50 HSCUBA* ([1246—1263. 

thou sajest things to suit thy purpose, bebg in misfcMr- 
tune. It may be, then, among yon an easy matter to 
murder one s gnest : but among ns Greeks at least this 
is a foul crime. How then, if I decide that thon art not 
in the wrong, may I avoid blame ? I conld not do so. 
Bat since thon hast dared to do what is not right, 
endnre at the same time what is not pleasant. 

PoLTM. Woe is me ! vanquished, as it seems, by a 
female slave; I shall have to give account to my 

Hec. 9 Wilt thou not do so justly, seeing thou hast 
done evil deeds ? 

PoLYM. Woe is me for these children, and for mine 
eyes, wretch that I am ! 

Hec. ^Thou grievest: what, deemest tliou that I 
grieve not for my child ? 

PoLYM. Thou rejoicest in insulting over me, O thou 
worker of all wickedness ! 

Hec, What, ought I not to rejoice at having avenged 
myself upon thee ? 

PoLYM. But not so, perchance, when the wave of the 
sea shall 

Hec. Didst thou say, shall bear me on shipboard to 
the coasts of Greece ? 

PoLYM. Nay, but shall overwhelm thee, fallen from 
the masthead of the ship. 

Hec. At whose hands meeting with this compulsory 

PoLYM. Thyself on thy feet, shalt climb up the mast 
of the ship. 

* 1284. Thii speech is attri- ^ftdg ; K.r.\. P. — uc distin- 

buted to Agamemnon bj P. guendum. Dind. — t. e., Bat 

■ r» d*, r/fuiQ K.r*X. ri i' • what of me? deemest thoa, etc. 

1264—1278.] HECUBA. 51 

Hec. With wings on my back, or by what means ? 
PoLYM. Thou will become a hound with eyes of fire. 
Hec. And how knowest thou the change of my 
form ? 

PoLTM. The Thracian prophet, Dionysus,* declared 
these things. 

Hec. But did he not reveal to thee any of the evils 
which thou sufferest ? 

PoLYM. Nay, for then never shouldst thou have en- 
trapped me thus with treachery. 

Hec. And shall I fulfil my fate there' alive, or 

PoLYM, Dead, and the name of thy tomb shall 

Hec. Called after my form, or what,^ wilt thou 

PoLYM. The monument of the illfated hound, a sign 
to mariners. 

Hec. Little care I, now at least that thou hast given 
me satisfaction. 

PoLYM. Aye, and it is fated that thy child Cassandra 

Hec. I spurn the omen: I resign it for thyself to 

PoLYM. This man's wife will slay her, a bitter 
guardian of his house. 

Hec. Never may the daughter of Tjmdarus become so 

a 1267. cf. Herod, vii. 3. * 1272. fj ri. ^ n. P. 

' 1270. kvOdd* — in mari. i. e., Can it be that thou wilt 

ibid. — piov, Absurdum est say some name conunemoratiDg 

Ptbv post 9avov(T* rj l^SKia die- my form 1 
turn — corrigendum iroTftoy. 


52 HECUBA. [1279—1295. 

PoLYM. Aye, and this man too raising an axe high 
over him. 

Agam. Ho there ! art thou mad, and desirous of meet- 
ing with some mischief ? 

PoLYM. Slay me; for in Argos a bath of blood 
awaits thee. 

Agam. Will ye not drag him, ye slaves, out of our 
way by force ? 

PoLYM. Art thou pained [thou art pained. P.] at 
hearing it ? 

Agam. Will ye not stop his mouth ? 

PoLYM. Gag it ; for the word is spoken ? 

Agam. Will ye not with all speed cast him out into 
some desert island, since he is thus over-bold of speech ? 
But do thou, Hecuba, O thou wretched one, go and 
bury the two corpses. But ye, O Trojan women, must 
draw near to the tents of your lords : for now I per- 
ceive here the breezes that will speed us home. And 
may we have a happy voyage to our fatherland, and 
behold all prospering in our homes, being released from 
these toils. 

Chorus. Begone to the harbour and to the tents, my 
friends, ye who are about to experience the hardships of 
a master s rule ; for inflexible is necessity. 






Chorus of Female Citizens. 




Children of Medea. 

The Nurse speaks the Prologue. 


Jason having arrived at Corinth and bringing Medea with him, 
plighU his troth to Glauce the daughter of Creon, king of the 
Corinthians. Medea, then, being on the point of being exiled 
from Corinth by Creon, entreats that she may abide yet one day : 
and obtaining her request, in requital of the favor, she sends to 
Glauce by the hands of her children the present of a robe and a 
chaplet of gold ; by wearing which she loses her life, and Creon, 
by embracing his daughter, dies likewise. Then Medea, having 
slain her own children, ascends a chariot of winged serpents, 
which she had received from the Sun, and flies to Athens, where 
she marries ^geus the son of Pandion. But Fherecydes and 
Simonides say that Medea restored Jason to youth by boiling him 
up anew. And concerning his father ^son, the Poet who wrote 
the " Returns from Troy" speaks thus — 

But straightway she made the beloved JEaoa a blooming youth, 
having stripped oflf from him old age by the wisdom of her under- 
standing, boiling many drugs in cauldrons " of gold." 

And ^schylus in the «* Nurses of Dionysus" recounts how she 
restored to youth the nurses of Dionysus also, with their hus- 
bands, by boiling them anew. And Staphylus says that Jason 
was, after a sort, killed by Medea : for that she bade him sleep 
under the stem of the Argo, when the ship was on the point of 
falling to pieces from age ; at any rate, that Jason died in conse- 
quence of the stern failing upon him. 

[Euripides] appears to have stolen this drama, by remodelling 
the tragedy of Neophron, as both Dicaearchus says, in his ** Life 


of Hellas" and Aristotle ia his " Memoirs." Bat thej blame 
him for not having preserred the acting in the character of Medea, 
but making her burst into tears, when she was plotting against 
Jason and his wife. But the introduction is praised for express- 
ing intense emotion, and the continuation — " Would that in the 
woods of Pelion*' and what follows. And it is from ignorance of 
this that Timachidas sajs he has put the cart before the horse : as 
likewise has Homer, Od. r. 264, — 

" Having arrajed him in fragrant garments, and washed him 
in the bath." 



Medea, from her hatred to Jason, in consequence of his having 
married Glauce the daughter of Creon, slew Glauoe and Creoo 
and her own sons, and then deserted Jason, going to live with 
iEgeus. The subject of the Drama is found in neither of the other 
Tragedians. The scene of the Drama is supposed to be in Corinth, 
and the Chorus consists of female citizens. It was biought out 
in the archonship of Pythodorus, in the 87th Oljrmpiad, BC. 432. 
Euphorion was first, Sophocles second, Euripides third. [The 
plajs of Euripides were] the Medea, the Philoctetes, the Dictjs, 
and the Reapers^ a satiric drama. This (last) is not preserved. 



Nurse. Oh that the bark of Argo had never sped 
her way to the Colchian's land, the dark Symple- 
gades ! Oh that in the woods of Pelion the cloven 
pine had never fallen, nor compelled to the oar the hands 
of men most valiant, who went on Pelias* errand for the 
all golden fleece. For then my mistress Medea would 
not have sailed to the towers of the land of lolcos, 
smitten to the soul with love for Jason : nor would she, 
having prevailed on the damsels, daughters of Pelias, to 
slay their sire, have become a dweller in this land of 
Corinth with her husband and her children ; striving to 
please, by her exile, the citizens of the land whither she 
has come, and herself in all matters conforming to 
the will of Jason, — which is the greatest preservative of 
happiness, when a wife is not at enmity with her hus- 
band. But now all things are at variance, and the 
dearest ties are shaken : for Jason, after deserting his 
own children and my mistress, is lulled to rest in royal 
nuptials, having taken to wife the daughter of Creon, 
who rules the land. And Medea, the wretched one, in 
her dishonour calls aloud upon his oaths, and recalls that 

6 MEDEA. [^21 53. 

mightiest pledge, the pledge of his right hand, and sum- 
mons the gods to witness what a return she receives from 
Jason. She lies too without sustenance, submitting her 
body to suffering, wasting away in tears the livelong 
time, ever since she has felt that she is dishonoured by 
her husband; neither raising her eyes nor lifting her 
visage from the ground : but like some rock or an ocean 
wave does she hearken when admonished by her friends, 
save only if at times turning her fair neck she bewails to 
herself her loved sire and her native land and that home, 
forsaking which she has arrived hither with a husband 
who now holds her in dishonour. And she, the wretched 
one, hath learned by misfortune, what it is not to be de- 
prived of one's fatherland. She hates her children nor 
is she gladdened at the sight of them ; and I fear her, 
lest she devise something strange; for stem is her 
spirit, nor will she brook to be treated ill. I know her 
and I fear her, that she will thrust a sharpened sword 
through her heart,* or even slay the prince and the bride- 
groom, and then incur herself some woe greater than all: 
for she is a fearful woman : not easily in sooth will one 
who joins with her in strife sing the song of victory. 
But hither are her children advancing, having ceased 
from their sport, with no thought of the woes of their 
mother, for the mind of the young is not wont to 

P^DAGOGUS. O aged bondslave of the house of my 
mistress, wherefore in this solitude standest thou before 
the gates, muttering to thyself woeful words ? how is it 
that Medea endures to be left apart from thee ? 

Nurse. O aged attendant on the children of Jason, 

* After line 40, followed halls where the marriage bed 
** having entered in silence the is made/' 

53 78.] MEDEA. 7 

■with faithful slaves the fortunes of their lords, falling out 
evilly, touch their very hearts ; for I have arrived at 
that pitch of wretchedness that a longing has crept over 
me to come forth hither, and tell to earth and heaven the 
fortunes of my mistress. 

Pjed. What? doth not the v^retched woman yet 
cease from her wailings ? 

Nurse. I wonder at your simplicity. Her suffering 
is but in its commencement and has not yet reached 
its height. 

PiED, O foolish woman ! if we may so speak of 
our lords; for she knows nothing of her later cala- 
mities ! 

Nurse. But what is this, old man ? grudge not to 
impart it. 

P-ED. 'Tis nothing : I regret even what has been 
said already. 

Nurse. Nay, by thy beard, hide it not from thy fel- 
lowservant ; for if it be needful, I will keep silence on 
these matters. 

PiED. I heard some one saying, (not seeming myself 
to hear,) as I approached the place where draughts were 
played, there where the elders sit, around the hallowed 
waters of Peirene; how Creon the prince of the land 
' purposed to drive forth from Corinthian ground these 
children with their mother. This tale, however, whether 
it be certain I know not : but I could wish that this 
were not true. 

Nurse. And will Jason brook that his children 
suffer this, even if he be at variance with their mother ? 

PiED. Old ties are abandoned for the new, and he is 
no longer a friend to this house. 

Nurse. We are ruined then if we are to add a new 

8 MEDEA. [78 — 105. 

woe to the old, before we have yet drained this to the 

Tmd. But do you then, inasmuch as it is not a fitting 
season for your mistress to learn these matters, do you 
be still, and keep silence on this rumour. 

Nurse. O my children, hear ye what a father is yours 
to you ? Perish indeed — may he not : for he is my 
lord : but he stands convicted an evil doer to those who 
love him. 

PiED. And which of mortals is not ? Is it but now 
that thou leamest this, that each one loveth himself 
better than his neighbour, some indeed justly, and others 
for profit' sake, since by reason of his marriage their 
father loves not these children ? 

Nurse. Go in, for it shall be well, go ye within the 
house, my children. And do thou by all means keep 
these children separate from her, nor let them draw near 
to their dark-souled mother : for ere now have I seen 
her lowering upon them as though she meditated some 
deed : nor will she cease from her wrath, I know it well, 
ere it fall on some one. However to her enemies, not to 
her friends, may she do it, whatever it be. 

Medea (within). 

Illfated that I am, and wretched by reason of suf- 
fering ! woe, woe for me, would I might perish ! 

Nurse. This is the very thing, my dear children ! 
your mother stirs up her heart and stirs up her wrath. 
Hasten with greater speed within the house, and come 
not within her gaze, neither approach her, but beware 
of her fierce temper and the hateful nature of her haughty 
soul. Go ye now, hasten with all speed within. For 

105—131] MEDEA. » 

it is evident that quickly she will again excite " with 
greater violence the cloud of her wailings. Whatever 
will she (ylnrxjfl^'MedesL) do, high-spirited, hardly to be 
restrained, when bitten by the tooth of evil ? 

Medea. Alas, alas ! I have suffered, much enduring, 
I have suffered things worthy of mighty lamentations, 

ye accursed children of a hateful mother, may ye 
perish, with your sire, and may all his house come to 
nought ! 

Nurse. Ah me ! ah me full of suffering ! But why, 
as thou deemest (coi) should thy children share their 
father's crime ? Alas, my children, how excessively do 

1 grieve, lest ye suffer somewhat! Fearful are the 
tempers of princes, and, so it is (vios), having little con- 
trol but great power, hardly do they relinquish their 
anger. For to be accustomed to live in a state of me- 
diocrity is a preferable lot : be it mine ' then to pass 
my declining years, if not in grandeur, at least in se- 
curity. For of the middle order of life, in the first place 
victory abides in the very utterance of its name, * and 
in its use is far the best for mankind ; but excess carries 
with it no advantage to mortals ; and when the deity 
is incensed, it brings greater curses upon &milies. 

I heard a voice, I heard the cry of the wretched 

* 107. Vide Elmsl. ad loc. — Kindling its wreaths long dark 

bat according to Matthias § and low 

496. 4. dpa\pti is to be taken To one broad gleam of ruddy 

passive, with vstbog for nom. glow, 
case.— cf. Lady of the Lake. 

Then Roderick from the Doug- ' 126. Herod, iii. 80. 

las broke * 127. Elms, ad loc. 
As flashes flame thro* sable 


10 MEDEA. [131—163. 

Colchian dame, nor is she yet appeased. But tell us, 
aged dame, what this is : for as I stood by the hall with 
its double portals, I heard a wailing within : nor am I 
pleased, old woman, at the woes of this house, for^ it 
has been rendered dear to me. 

Nurse. This house exists no longer : these things 
are already vanished. For a royal nuptial bed receives 
him, and she, my mistress, is wasting away her life 
in her chamber, in no way consoled at heart by the 
converse of any of her friends. 

Medea. Alas ! Oh that the fire of heaven would pass 
thro' my temples ! For why is it any longer gain for 
me to live on ? Woe ! woe ! oh that I might rest in 
death, forsaking a hateful existence ! 

Chorus. Didst thou hear O Jove and Earth and 
Light, what a song of wailing the wretclied wife pours 
forth ? Why, prithee, should the desire of thine ^ in- 
satiate couch, O thou foolish one, hasten the end of 
thy life ? Pray not for that. But if thy husband ad- 
mires a new marriage-bed, be not thou enraged at him 
for this: in this matter Jove will be thine advocate. 
Pine not away so grievously, bewailing the partner 
of thy bed. 

Medea. O mighty Themis and thou revered Diana, 
behold ye the wrongs I suffer, I who with mighty oaths 
bound my accursed husband ? May I one day behold 

* 137. P. fw) 0i\ia KSKpavraif • 150. t&q aTrX^orov KoiraQ 

deeds have been doue wbich I ipoc^ ^ors. *' his insatiate desire 

love not. Elmsl. jioi 0t\ta ks- of this marriage. But Elmsl. 

Kpavrai friendship has been cfTrXaarov for airXarov,- "' 

broaglit aboat — in both cases dowed. "The desire of thy 
xUpavrai for KSKparai from widowed couch, =rd)/dv^|t)ov. 
Kpaivia. Fors. Kexparai from 
jetpdyvvfiit has been contracted. 

163—197.] MEDEA. 11 

him and his bride crushed in pieces, they and their home ! 
for they dare first to do me wrong. O my father, O my 
country, whom I shamelessly deserted having slain my 
brother ! 

Nurse. Hear ye what words she utters ? how she 
calls on Themis, invoked in special prayer, and Jove, 
who is deemed the ruler of oaths among mortals ? It 
cannot be in any little time that my mistress will lull 
her wrath to rest. 

Chorus. Would that she would come into our sight 
and hear the sound of the words we utter, if so she 
might remit her sullen anger and the temper of her mind. 
Never, in sooth, let zeal on my part at least be lacking 
to my friends. But go thou, and conduct her hither 
without the house, and tell her these words of 7 friend- 
ship : and be quick, before she do any harm to those 
within : for this grief of hers hurries on with impetuous 

Nurse. I will do so : but I fear that I shall not 
persuade my mistress : yet I will grant you this boon of 
trouble. ® Although she looks fiercely on her slaves with 
the scowl of a lioness that has just brought forth, when- 
ever any one approaches near her, offering to address 
her. Indeed, thou wouldst not err were you to call 
the men of old time foolish, and wise in nought, whoever 
they were, who invented hymns for feastings and ban- 
quets and suppers, the sounds that sweeten life; but 
no mortal has found out how by music and songs sung 
to the many stringed lyre, to assuage the distressing 
griefs of mortals : griefs from which death, and fearful 

'182, P. 0^Xo, Kal rdS* avda, metre of tbe strophe 156. 
making 0iXa the 70c. sing. ^ t. «., to oblige you, I will 

which is repugnant to the imdertake this task. 

12 MEDEA. [197—228. 

misfortnnes overturn the houses of men. And yet 
'twere gain for mortals to cure these evils with song : 
but there, where costly feasts are spread, why needlessly 
do they prolong the strain ? For the present satisfaction 
of the feast carries with it its own gratification to 
mortal men. 

Chorus. I heard a sound of lamentations full of 
groans : and with shrill plaintive complaints for her 
woes, she calls upon the traitor to her bed, her faithless 
husband : and suffering wrongfully she invokes Themis 
daughter of Jove, the Goddess of oaths, Themis who 
caused her to go to the opposite shore of Greece, thro' the 
surge by night over the briny, the boundless pass of 
the Pontus. 

Medea. "Women of Corinth,! have come forth from my 
home, that ye may find no fault with me ; for I know 
that many of mankind are haughty, some 9 in private 
life, others in public : while those of a quiet walk of life 
have incurred an ill name and the imputation of laziness. 
For justice resides not, in the eyes of mortals, of him 
who before he has fully learned the heart of another man, 
hates him at sight, without suffering wrong at his hand. 
And it is the duty of a stranger, certainly, to accommo- 
date himself to the state : and I do not even praise 
that citizen who, being self-willed, renders himself from 
folly a nuisance to his countrymen. But in my case this 
unexpected event which has fallen on me has crushed my 
spirit : moreover I am lost, and having relinquished the 
pleasure of living, I long to die, my friends : for he in 
whom my all was placed, (as far as I could rightly un- 

»216. Hermann adopts the indeed whom I myself have 
interpretation of Seidler, and seen, others of whom I have 
is followed by Jacobs : ** some heard," 

229—258.] MEDEA. 13 

derstand) ^ he, my husband, has turned out the vilest of 
men. But of all things that have life and sense, we 
women are the most miserable race : we, who must first 
with an exceeding sum purchase us a husband, and 
receive a lord over our persons, (for this is even a more 
grievous evil than the former) : and in this, too, there is 
the greatest risk, whether we shall receive a bad master 
or a good one : for divorces are not honourable to women, 
nor is it possible to repudiate a husband ; and she who 
has arrived among new customs and new laws must 
needs be a prophetess (not having learned it of oneself) 
as to what kind of husband she is most likely to meet 
with. Then, should our husband dwell happily with 
us having laboured so far with success, not violently 
imposing the yoke, 'tis an enviable life : but if not, 'twere 
better to die. For when a man is disgusted with asso- 
ciating with those of his own home, going out he relieves 
his heart of its loathing, betaking himself to some friend 
or to his comrades : but we are compelled to look to one 
person alone. And they say of us, how we live a life 
of security at home while they do battle with the spear, 
thinking unwisely : for rather would I stand thrice be- 
side the shield than be a mother once. But really the 
same argument applies not to you and to me : for you 
have here your country and the halls of your father and 
the society of your friends ; while I, desolate, homeless, 
am insulted by my husband, I, borne off as plunder * 
from a barbarian land, having no mother, no brother, no 
kinsman with whom to seek a refuge from this calamity. 

* 228. Matth. — " lUe in batur. Heath. — yiyv(!)(rKeiQ kO' 
quo bene cognoscendo samma \wq, P. you well know, 
renun omniam mearum rerte- '256. This is a sneer against 

the Argonautic expedition^ 

U ilEDEA, [259— 284- 

Th lis much therefore I will desire to obtain from thee, 
that if I may discover any means and contrivance 
whereby to execute just vengeance on my husband, and 
on him who has given him his daughter, and on the 
bride, thou wilt keep silence on it : for in all other 
things, indeed, a woman is full of fear, and fainthearted 
at prowess and to look on steel: but when she is 
wronged in respect of her marriage bed, there is no 
other temper that thirsts more for blood. 

Chorus. I will do this, for justly wilt thou avenge 
thyself, Medea, on thy husband ; and I wonder not that 
thou mournest over thy mischances. But I see Creon 
ruler of this land advancing hither, the messenger of 
some new counsels. 


Thee, of sullen brow, and enraged against thine hus- 
band, Medea, I have decreed that thou shalt quit this 
land an exile, taking with thee thy two children, and 
that thou make no delay : for I am the arbiter of this 
command, and I will not return back again to my 
home, before I shall have cast thee out beyond the boun- 
daries of this land. 

Medea. Woe, woe ! I, the wretched one, perish in 
utter destruction : for my foes are now crowding all 
their sail, and there is no escape from wretchedness easy 
to be attained. Nevertheless I will ask him, though 
suffering wrongfully as I do — For what cause drivest 
thou me from thy land, O Creon ? 

Creon. I fear thee (there is no need to disguise my 
words) that thou wilt do some irremediable mischief to 
my daughter. And many things are inferred* from this 

^ 284. Or ^vfipaXXirai may are many signs or tokens of 
be equal to avfiPoXa ieri, there this fear. 

285 313.] MEDEA. 15 

fear : thou art by nature crafty and skilled in many an 
evil heart, and thou art annoyed at being deprived of thy 
husband's bed : moreover I liear that thou threatenest, 
(as they report to me) that thou wilt do somewhat to 
him that gives up liis daughter and the bridegroom and 
the bride. This therefore I will prevent, before I suffer 
it, for it were better for me, lady, now to be hateful to 
thee, than giving way to pity hereafter grievously to 
repent it. 

Medea. Alas, alas ! It is not now for the first time, 
but often before, Creon, has rumour done me harm and 
worked me mighty evils. Never should the man, who 
is possessed of good sense, have his children taught to be 
overwise. For ^besides another charge which they incur, 
I mean the charge of inactivity, they occasion hostile 
envy from their fellow-citizens. For by offering new- 
fashioned wisdom to dolts, you will seem to be useless, 
and unvrise : or again, if you are accounted superior to 
those who fancy they possess some abstruse knowledge, 
you will appear troublesome in your city. And I my- 
self also share this fate : for being wise, by some I am 
looked on with envy, by others with dislike : and yet I 
am not so very wise. Thou however fearest me, lest 
some misfortune jar upon thee. I am not so disposed — 
fear me not, Creon — as to do wrong against princes. 
For wherein hast thou wronged me? Thou hast be- 
trothed thy daughter to him towards whom thy inclina- 
tion led thee : my husband indeed I hate ; but thou, I 
suppose, didst this act in wisdom. And, as it is now, I 
grudge not that thy fate should be prosperous. * Con- 

^297. VideHerm. ad Elmsl. senses of dicere — nubere-^ 
' 313. vvfjulnvtiv bas the three dare. Vide Liddell and Scott. 

16 MEDEA. [314—333. 

tract alliances — be happy: but suffer me to dwell in 
this land ; for even though wronged, I will be silent, 
vanquished by them that are mightier. 

Creon. Thou speakest words soft to the ear, but 
"within my heart I have a dread that thou art plotting 
some mischief ; and by so much the less than before do 
I trust thee. For a woman quick to passion and simi- 
larly a man is easier to guard against than one who is 
still and cunning. But begone with all speed, speak not 
a word more ; since this is fixed and thou hast no con- 
trivance whereby thou mayest remain amongst us, being, 
as thou art, inimical to me. 

Med. Nay, I beseech thee by thy knees and by thy 
newly married daughter. 

Creon. Thou wastest words : for never wilt thou per- 
suade me. 

Med. Wilt thou then drive me forth," and in no wise 
respect my supplications ? 

Creon. Aye, for I love not thee more than mine own 

Med. my country, how in very truth do I now re- 
member thee ! 

Creon. Aye : for, save my children, to me also my 
country is most dear. 

Med. Alas, alas ! how great an evil is love to 
mortals ! 

Creon. Even so, I suppose, as circumstances present 

Med. O Jove, may he not escape thine eye, who is the 
cause of these evils. 

Creon. Begone, vain woman, and rid me of this 

834—356.] MEDEA. 17 

3l£D. Tis I that am in trouble, and I want no 
troubles morc^ 

Creon. Speedily thou shalt be thrust out by force at 
the hands of my attendants. 

Mei). Nay, at least not that — but I beseech thee, 

Creoh. Thou wilt give annoyance, as it seems, O 

Med, I will begone: I prayed not to obtain this 
from thee. 

Creon. Wherefore then dost thou press me, and not 
quit the country ? 

Med. Suffer me to remain this single day, and to 
complete my plans, how we shall flee, and to secure a 
place of refuge for my children, since their father recks 
nothing of providing for his offspring. Yet do thou pity 
them : thou too, in sooth, art the father of children : 
and it is natural that thou shouldst have a kindly feeling 
for them. For I have no care for myself whether I 
shall be an exile, but I lament for them involved in 

Creon. In no wise is my temper that of the tyrant, 
and by respecting the suppliant often in truth have I 
harmed myself. Even now I see that I am in error, 
lady ; but nevertheless thou shalt obtain this boon. But 
I forewarn thee, if to-morrow's light of heaven shall be- 
hold thee and thy children within the bounds of this 
land, thou shalt die. This threat hath been spoken in 
sincerity. But now, if thou must remain, remain for a 
single day, inasmuch as in that time thou wilt do none 
•of the fearful deeds I dread. 

* 334. P. after Musgr. Trouble indeed ! and do not I feel 
trouble 1 

18 MEDEA. [357—390. 

Chor. Ill-fated lady, alas, alas wretched by reason of 
thy woes ! Whither ever wilt thou betake thyself? 
What hospitality, what home or what country wilt thou 
discover to save thee from misery? Into what a sea of 
affliction from which there is no escape hath the God 
conducted thee, Medea ! 

Medea. Ill have I fared on all sides. Who will 
contradict me ? But not in this way shall these things 
end, think it not yet. There are still struggles for the 
newly married pair, and for those who betrothed them 
no slight troubles remain. For deemest thou I would 
ever have fawned on that man, save to gain some end or 
to devise some plot ? I would not even have addressed 
him, nor touched him with my hands. But he has 
come to such a pitch of folly, that when it was in his 
power to baffle my plans by casting me out from the 
land, he has permitted me to remain this single day, — 
in which day I will make corpses of three of my foes, 
the father and the daughter and mine own husband. 
But though I have many a way of death against them, 
I know not by which I shall first make my attempt, 
my friends, whether I shall secretly fire the nuptial hall, 
or thrust a sharpened sword through their hearts, enter- 
ing in silence the chamber where the nuptial bed is laid. 
But there is one thing against me : if I shall be caught 
entering the palace and contriving my plans, I shall die 
and offer an object of derision to my foes. 'Twere best, 
by that straight path wherein I am most skilled, to take 
them off by poison. — Well. — And now, suppose they 
are dead. What city will receive me ? What stranger, 
making his land my refuge and his home secure, will 
save my life ? There is none. Waiting then yet some 
little time, if any tower of safety appear to me, in craft 

390—430.] MEDEA. 19 

and silence I will pursue this murder. But if some un- 
avoidable mischance repel me, I myself seizing a sword, 
even though I should die, will slay them, and will rush 
on to the utmost pitch of recklessness. For never, I 
swear it by my mistress whom I reverence most of all 
gods, and whom I have chosen as my coadjutor, by 
Hecate who dwells in the inmost comer of my hearth ! 
never shall any one of them with impunity wring my 
heart. But bitter for them and mournful will I make 
their marriage, and bitter their alliance, and my exile from 
their land. But on : be not sparing of whatever thou 
knowest, Medea, in thy counsels and thy plans ; on, to 
the deed of danger : now is the struggle of courage. 
See'st thou what thou art enduring ? It becomes not 
thee to be an object of derision to the race of Sisyphus, 
to the nuptials of Jason, thee, who art sprung from a 
noble sire, and from the Sun. But thou art skilled. 
And I moreover am a woman, for good indeed most in- 
e£Eicient, but the most crafty worker of all iniquity. 

Chor. The streams of hallowed rivers run upward to 
their spring, and tiie course of justice and all else is 
reversed. Among men are the counsels of deceit, and 
fiuth in the gods no longer abides firm : and that my 
sex^ may win fair renown, fame will change QP. changes]. 
Honour is coming to the female race : no longer shall a 
slanderous repute haunt women. But the Muses shall 
cease from their strains of old, from celebrating our 
perfidy. For, as I deem, Phoebus, leader of melody, 
committed not to woman the divine strains of the lyre, 
since it would have echoed back a strain against the 
race of men : but a long period of time has many a tale 

^ 415. j3iordv0^v(riv. Schw. 

20 MEDEA. [430—403. 

to tell of our fate as well as that of men. Thus thou 
sailedst forth from the home of thy fathers, thy heart 
maddened with hve^ having passed between the twin 
rocks of the ocean; and now thou dwellest on a foreign 
soil, having lost the resting place of thy widowed bed, 
wretch that thou art, and art driven forth a dishonoured 
exile from the land. And all the respect for oaths is 
gone and no longer does shame abide in mighty Greece, 
but has fled up on high. But to thee, thou ill-fated one, 
there remain not the halls of thy sire to be a refuge from 
thy woes, and of thy nuptial bed a new queen mightier 
than thou presides over thy house. 


It is not now for the first time but often before, have I 
observed what an irremediable mischief is an unyielding 
temper. For when it was in thy power to enjoy this 
land and this home bearing lightly the determination of 
thy superiors, for thy rash words thou art to be exiled 
from the land. And to me indeed it is no consequence : 
never cease from saying how Jason is the vilest of men. 
But with respect to what thou hast said against royalty, 
deem it all gain that thou art punished by exile only. 
I for my part have continually endeavoured to appease 
the wrath of the incensed princes, and wished thee to 
remain ; but thou wouldst not cease from thy folly, ever 
speaking evil words against the royal house : wherefore 
thou art to be exiled from the land. But neverthe- 
less even after this not wanting to my friends, have I 
come hither, providing for thy interests at least, O lady, 
so that thou mightest not go into exile with thy chil- 
dren, either penniless or in want of anything. Exile 
brings in its train many an evil ; for even though thou 
detestest me, never could I feel unkindly towards thee. 

465 — 493.] MEDEA. 21 

Medea. O vilest of the vile, for this is the greatest 
reproach I can tell thee with my tongue against thy un- 
manliness,^ hast thou come to me ? hast thou come, thou 
who hast become most hateful ?9 In sooth this is not 
confidence or boldness, when thou hast wronged thy 
£riends to look them in the face, but the greatest of all 
pests among mankind, impudence : yet thou hast done 
well in coming. For both I shall be lightened in spirit 
by reproaching thee, and thou wilt be pained by hearing 
it. But from the very outset will I begin first to speak. 
I saved thy life, as all the Greeks well know who with 
thee entered the same bark Argo, when thou wast sent 
to master the fire breathing^ bulls with the yoke, and to 
sow the fatal field : and that dragon, who guarding the 
all-golden fleece preserved it with many folded coils, 
sleepless ever, it I slew and held aloft for thee the bea- 
con light of safety. And I myself, having forsaken my 
father and mine own home, arrived with thee at lolcos 
the land of Pelion, with more spirit than wisdom ; and 
I slew Pelias, so that he fell by a death most grievous, 
at the hands of his own children, and I rid thee of every 
cause of fear. And thou, having experienced this at 
my hands, vilest of men, hast forsaken me, and taken to 
thyself another nuptial bed, when thou hast children 
bom to thee : for hadst thou still been childless, 'twould 
have been pardonable in thee to have been smitten with 
this marriage. But the faith of oaths is vanished ; nor 
can I understand whether thou countest the gods, who 

®465. According to Person's ® After v. 467, some editions 

punctuation, translate thus : have " Both to the gods and 
For this I can tell thee, the to me and to the whole race 
greatest reproach against thy of men." 
unmanliness in point of tongue. ' 479. Or l^ivyXawi may be 

governed by iTTiaTdrriv. 


22 MEDEA. [493—523. 

.then ruled, to have no more power, or that new laws are 
in these days being imposed among mankind, since at 
least thou art conscious that thou hast not kept faith 
with mo. Alas, for that right hand which thou didst 
so often take, and for these knees, how fruitlessly have 
I been polluted by the touch of a villain, and have been 
cheated of my hope ! Come, for I will hold converse 
with thee as though thou wert a friend, deeming not 
indeed that I shall receive any good at thy hand, but 
notwithstanding I will speak ; for being interrogated thou 
wilt be shown more vile. Now, whither must I betake 
myself ? To the halls of my father ! — which with my 
country I betrayed for thee, and arrived hither ? or to 
the wretched daughters of Pelias ? right well, I ween, 
would they receive me in their home whose sire I slew. 
For so the case stands ; to my friends in my own home 
I have become a foe : and those whom I ought never to 
have harmed, by conferring benefits on thee I have as 
enemies. Wherefore, in requital for these things thou 
hast made me to be considered blessed throughout 
Greece to many women ; and I have thee a wondrous 
^i.spouse, and a faithful one — wretch that I am ! if cast 
forth I am to be exiled from the land, destitute of 
friends, alone with my lonely children, — a fair fame in 
truth to the newly married bridegroom, that his children 
and she who saved his life are wandering beggars ! O 
Jove, wherefore didst thou give to men certain tests of 
gold, such as is adulterate ; but yet no stamp has been 
imprinted on their person whereby we may discern the 
villain among men. 

Chor. Fearful is the wrath, and hard to bo appeased, 
when friends join in strife with friends. 

Jason. I must^ it seems, be no sluggard in speech. 

524—556.] MEDEA. 23 

but like the prudent pilot of a vessel with every stitch 
of canvass nm from under (*. e. elude) thy wearisome 
loquacity. I then, since thou exaltest so high the 
favours thou hast done me, I deem that Cypris alone of 
gods and mortals was the guardian of my enterprise. 
Thou hast indeed a subtle wit, but 'tis an invidious 
argument to dwell on, that Love with his unerring bow 
compelled thee to preserve my life. However, I will 
not lay this down too nicely : for however it was 
thou didst me service, it is well. — However, at least, 
thou receivedst a greater advantage from my safety than 
thou conferredst upon me ; as I will explain : — In the 
first place thou dwellest in the land of Greece, in place 
of a barbarian land, and thou knowest what justice is, 
and how to live under laws, not being at the mercy of 
force. Again, all the Greeks have seen that thou art 
wise, and thou hadst won renown : whereas hadst thou 
dwelt on the furthest borders of the world there had 
been no fame of thee : and for my own part might I 
have neither gold in my dwelling nor skill to hymn the 
strain sweeter than Orpheus, unless my lot were likewise 
made illustrious. Thus much, however, have I spoken 
of my own toils ; for it was thyself that proposed this 
rivalry of words. But as to the reproaches which thou 
castest upon me for my royal alliance, in this matter I 
will show first, that I was wise ; in the next place, dis- 
creet ; in the third, an especial friend to thee and to my 
children : but do thou keep quiet. After I had re- 
moved hither from the land of lolcos, bringing after me 
many insuperable difficulties, what better piece of good 
fortune could I have met with than to marry the daugh- 
ter of a king, exile as I was ? Not (where thou art 
nettled) hating thy marriage bed, nor enamoured of a 

24 MEDEA. [^556 — 580. 

fresh bride, nor being earnest in a striving after many 
children : those bom to me are enough, nor do I find 
fault there : but — what is the chief point — that we may 
live with honour, and may not be in want, well know- 
ing that every friend flies out of the way of the poor 
man, and that I might bring up my children in a 
manner worthy of my house, and that begetting brothers 
to the children I have by thee, I might place them on 
the same footing, and uniting the family, I might be 
happy ;* for thou too hast some need of other children, 
and it is my advantage to profit my present^ by means 
of 2k future^ family. Then have I counselled ill ? Not 
even thou couldst say this, did not thy marriage bed 
provoke thee. But ye women have come to such a 
point, that so long as your marriage rights are preserved, 
ye think ye have ever3rthing ; but if on the other hand 
any mischance befall the nuptial couch, then all that is 
best and fairest ye deem most hostile. Yes, mortals 
ought to make them children from some other quarter, 
and the female sex should never have existed ; and so 
never would there have been evil among men. 

Chou. Jason, with speciousness hast thou adorned this 
speech. But yet to me at least, even if I shall speak 
contrary to thy wishes, thou seemest, in deserting thy 
wife, to act no just part. 

Med. Verily in many respects I am different from 
many mortals. For in my mind, he who being dis- 

^ 565. This passage, which is of place. 2. Branck, aol ti ydp 

corrupt, may be translated two tt. r» SeX' subaudi aXXwv, for 

ways, according to the accent thou bast need of other chil- 

and punctuation. 1. Porson, dren, as well as I. Elmsley 

<Toi Tt y&p Traidiov rl Sh ; for suggests a very good emenda- 

what need hast thou of chil- tion croi rs y&p Traidwv /xeXct. 
dren t an expression totally out 

580 — 604.] MEDEA. 25 

honest is yet gifted with craftiness of speech deserves 
the heaviest punishment : for priding himself on this, 
that with his tongue he can speciously bedeck dishonest 
deeds, he dares all villany ; but yet he is not over wise. 
Even thus be not thou now specious to me, and cunning 
in thy speech : for a single word shall lay thee pros- 
trate.^ It was thy part, if, as thou sayest, thou wert 
not a -villain, to have contracted this marriage after 
gaining my consent, and not without the knowledge of 
thy friends. 

Jas. Aye, and fairly, I ween, wouldest thou have 
acceded to this plan, if I had acquainted you with my 
intended marriage ; thou, who even now canst not relax 
the fierce wrath of thy heart ! 

Med. 'Twas not this that swayed thee, but a bar- 
barian wife threatened to turn out not over-honorable 
for thine old age. 

Jas. Be well assured of this, 'twas for no love of 
woman I courted the royal bride whom I now possess, 
but even as I said before, wishing to preserve thee and 
to beget children of princely birth, of the same seed 
with mine own children, a bulwark to my house. 

Med. May I never live a life of painful prosperity, 
nor be mine that wealth which may afflict my soul. 

Jas. Knowest thou how to change thy prayer, and 
to appear much wiser ? Never let lucrative things seem 
painful to thee, nor when fortunate deem thyself un- 

Med. Insult me as thou wilt, since for thee there is 
a refuge, but I, desolate, must go an exile from this land. 

' 686. Iicrevci. according to wise, iKrevel may mean ** shall 
Eastathius, followed by Por- stretch thee on the rack." 
■on, ^iKTadriv pi^ei — other- 

•d 3 

26 MEDEA. [605 — 626. 

Jas. Tliyself hast chosen this part : blame no one else. 

Med. By doing what? Was it by marrying and 
deserting thee ? 

Jas. It was by invoking impious curses upon the 
princes of the land. 

Med. 4 And I happen to have endured curses from 
thy house likewise. 

Jas. ^ Be sure, I will not contend further with thee 
on these subjects. But if thou desirest to receive any 
assistance in thine exile for thy children or thyself from 
my wealth, name it. For I am ready to give with 
ungrudging hand, and to send tokens to my guest- 
friends, who will do thee service. And if thou wilt not 
accept this, thou wilt be acting foolishly, lady : but by 
ceasing from thy passion thou wilt reap advantage. 

Med. Neither will I use the services of thy guest- 
friends, nor receive any boon from thee, do not^ even 
oflfer it to me : for the gifts of an evil man bear with 
them no profit. 

Jas. Then I call the Gods to witness that I am ready 
in all things to serve thee and thy children : but good 
things please thee not, but in sullen pride thou repellest 
thy friends : wherefore shalt thou grieve the more. 

Med. Begone : for thou art carried away with longing 
for thy newly married bride, lingering as thou art out of 
sight of the palace. Wed on : for perchance — ^for by 
heaven it shall be spoken — thou wilt contract such a 
marriage as thou wilt be glad to renounce. 

* 608. Apaia — Elmsley * ujc*»lfr0t wf. cf. Elmsley. 

would take activd *' Aye, and 

I am disposed to curse thy ^ 617. firid* i^fiiv. neither 

house too" — so Monk, Matthicy do thou offer it. 
and Dind. 

627-^-064.] MEDEA. 27 

Cqob. Love when it comes with excessive vehemence 
gives to men [[among men P.] neither honour nor 
virtue: but if Cypris come in moderation, there is not 
any goddess so gracious. Never, O queen, against 
me mayest thou speed from the golden bow the. inevi- 
table dart, having anointed its point with desire. But 
may sobriety, fairest gift of heaven, love to dwell in 
me ; and never may Cypris, fearful deity, impose on me 
jarring passions and insatiate strife, smiting my heart 
vnth desire of another marriage bed ; but, respecting a 
peaceful couch, ® may she vigilantly execute judgment 
on the bed of women. O my country, O my home, 
never may I become an outcast, having a life of difficulty 
hardly to be passed through, a life of most pitiable 
woes.* In death, in death may I first be laid low, when 
I have reached that day : for there is no more exceeding 
woe than to be deprived of one's fatherland. Ourselves 
have seen it, we need not to learn it from the tales of 
others ; for no city, no friend, had pity on thee who 
hast suffered the most fearful of sufferings. Ungracious 
may he perish, whoever is disposed not to respect his 
friends by opening the pure locket of his mind : to me 
for one never shall he be a friend. 


Medea, hail ! for than this no man knows a better 
address whereby to greet his friends. 

* 641. (1.) according to wards.) We have taken Elms- 

Elmsl. 6^vj)p(ov s*d^v9vfioQ= ley's translation (parat a prompt! 

'* with hasty wrath." (2). Kpivoi expendere lecti jugulis crimina 

may mean (a) keep asunder — Buchan :) except in the mat- 

the nuptial heds of woman. ter of d^v^ptav, 
(b) assign heforehand, (so that ' 646. P. oiKTpitraTOV &x^'*^v 

there may he no mistake after- " the most pitiahle of woes.'' 

28 MEDEA. [665—681. 

Med. O hail thou also, iEgeus, son of the wise Pan- 
dion ! from whence art thou come to the soil of this 

-^geus. Having left the ancient oracle of Phoebus. 

Med. And on what mission wentest thou to the 
prophetic centre of the earth ? 

^GEUS. To enquire how a race of children might be 
bom to me. 

Med. By heaven, hast thou then continued to live 
up to this time childless ? 

iEGEUS. Childless I am, by the dispensation of some 

Med. Hast thou a wife or art thou inexperienced as 
to the marriage bed ? 

^GEUS. I am not without^ my share of the nuptial 

Med. What then did Phoebus tell thee respecting 
children ? 

^GEUS. "Words wiser than for a man to conjecture. 

Med. Is it lawful that I should know the oracle of 
the god ? 

^geus. By all means; since in sooth it needs the 
interpretation even of a wise mind. 

Med. What answer then gave he ? say, if I am 
allowed to hear. 

JEqeus. That I should not loose the projecting neck 
of the wine skin. 

Med. Before you should have done what, or arrived 
at what land ? 

-SIgeus. Before I should again have returned to my 
paternal hearth. 

> a^vyoc =expers. 

682—696.] MEDEA. 29 

Med. Desiring what then dost thou visit this land ? 

^GEUS. There is a certain Pitthcus, king of the knd 
of TrGezen. 

Med. The son of Pelops, as they report, a most 
pious man.< 

JEqevb, To him I wish to impart the response oi 
the god. 

Med. Yes ; for the man is wise and much skilled in 
such matters. 

jEgeus. And to me indeed he is the dearest of all my 
confederate friends. 

Med. Well, mayest thou be fortunate and gain all 
that thou desirest. 

iBoEUS. But why has thine eye and thy frame thus 
wasted away ? 

Med. iEgeus, my husband is the basest of all men 
to me. 

JEqevb. What sayest thou ? tell me clearly of thy 

Med. Jason wrongs me, without having suffered any 
wrong at my hand. 

JEqevs, By doing what ? tell me more plainly. 

Med. He has taken another wife in addition to me, 
as the mistress of his house. 

Mqevb. What?^ has he indeed dared this most 
shameful deed ? 

Med. Be assured 'he has : and we are scorned who 
were before his friends. 

' 584. Herm. But according plied to Chiron '' tanquam inter 

to Elmsl. ** the most pious of omnes unus juris observan- 

the sons of Pelops." Valckenaer tissimus." 

takes it in the sense of Homer's ^ 695. ^Trov P. Can he 

SiKaiSraTDQ KiVTavpuiV, ap- have etc. 1 

30 MEDEA. [697—717. 

^GEUS. Was he smitten with desire, or did he hate 
thy marriage bed ? 

Med. Aye, smitten with a mighty desire : he was 
faithless to his friends. 

^geus. Let him go then, since he is such a villain 
as thou sayest. 

Med. He was smitten with a desire of obtaining an 
alliance with princes. 

^GEUS. But who gives him the bride? pray, con- 
clude the tale. 

Med. Creon, who rules this Corinthian land. 

^GEUS. Certainly,* then, it were pardonable that 
you should be grieved, lady. 

Med. I am ruined : and more than this, I am 
expelled from the land. 

-^GEUS. By whom ? This again is another and a 
fresh evil that thou tellest of. 

Med. Creon drives me forth, an exile from the land 
of Corinth, 

^GEUS. And does Jason suffer it ? I praise not this. 

Med. By his words indeed, no ; but^ in his heart he 
wishes it. But, I beseech thee, by this thy beard, and 
by thy knees, and I become thy suppliant, pity, pity 
me the ill-fated one, and see me not go into exile 
desolate, but receive me in thy country and in thy home, 
a suppliant at thy hearth. So may thy desire of off- 
spring be accomplished for thee by the gods, and 
mayest thou thyself die in happiness. But thou know- 
est not what a piece of good fortune thou hast found in 
me; for I will make thee cease from being childless, 

* 703. fikv ydp P. Yes, it is willing to put up with it 
were indeed etc. (Ironice). 

* 708, P. KapTsptiv, but he 

718—738.] MEDEA. 31 

and will make thee the father of a race of children : 
such charms (or drugs) I know. 

iEoEUS. For many reasons, lady, I am ready to grant 
thee this boon, first from reverence to the Gods, in the 
next place by reason of the offspring whose birth thou 
dost promise me, for really in this respect I am altoge- 
ther lost.^ But thus it stands with me : if thou wilt 
come to my land, I will strive to befriend thee with all 
justice. Thus much, however, I forewarn thee, lady ; 
from this land I shall not be willing to lead thee forth 
but if thou of thyself come to my halls, thou shalt 
remain inviolate, and never will I give thee up to any. 
But of thyself do thou remove thy foot from this 
soil, inasmuch as I wish to be blameless, even before 

Med. It shall be so ; but if some pledge were given 
me of this, then should I be well satisfied in all points 
at thy hand. 

iEGEUs. What, dost thou not trust me ? or what is 
thy difficulty ? 

Med. I trust thee : but the house of Pelias is at feud 
with me, and also Creon : and to these, if thou wert 
bound indeed by oaths to me, thou wouldest not give 
me up from thy country, should they try to lead me 
away. But shouldst thou confer with them, being at 
the same time not bound by oath to the gods, thou 
mightest become their friend, and^ perchance give in to 

• 722. My whole race and from the text in Dind. except 

name is extinct. Scholef. : — by anderstandingf kmKTjpvKtv- 

for as regards begetting chil- /lacnv o{jk SLv irlQoio to mean, 

dren, my strength is quite gone. ** You would not abide bj jour 

Matth. engagements to me" — which is 

^ 739. oiK Av ttlOoio. No not the English of any of the 

sense whatever can be extracted words. Muretus. The easiest 

32 MEDEA. [738—759. 

the demands made by their heralds : for my interests 
are weak, bnt they have wealth and a princely house. 

^GEUS. Thou hast spoken words of much fore- 
thoughty lady ; but if it seems good to thee that I 
should do this, I refuse not : for both for me it is the 
safest course, that I should have some pretext to show 
to thy foes, and thy safety is more securely fixed. 
Name thou the gods. 

Med. Swear by the plain of earth, and by the sun, 
the sire of my sire, and add to them the whole family 
of gods. 

-^GEUs. That I will do, or will not do, what ? 
Say on. 

Med. That neither thou thyself wilt ever cast me 
forth from thy land, and, if any of my foes seek to carry 
me away, thou wilt not voluntarily give me up, while 
thou livest. 

^GEUS, I swear by earth and by the sacred majesty 
of the sun, and by all the gods, that I will abide by 
what I hear from thee. 

Med. It sufficeth.' But what art thou willing to 
suffer, if thou abidest not by this oath ? 

^GEUS. All that befalls the impious among mortals. 

Med. Go in peace ; for all is well : and I will arrive 
at thy city with all speed, having effected what I am 
about to do, and having attained what I desire. 

Chor. But may the son of Maia, guiding power, 

emendation adopted is that boit. Scribendom tux* ^^ 

of Porson: rd^' d.v ttiOoio. ttiOoio cum WyttenbacLio. 

— Those who have a taste for Dind. 

more, are referred to Hermann ^ 754. Est 7rd0oi/ic, fiov- 

and Elmsley. Xofiai iraOeiv igitur ri TrdOoig ; 

oitK d.v viBoio, Hoc con- valet, ri PovXfi iraQiiv ; — 

trariam est ejus quod dici de- Scholef. 

760—788.] MEDBA. 33 

escort thee to thy home : and setting thy mind upon 
what thou desirest, majest thou accomplish it : for to 
iis thou hast proved thyself a nohle man, O. ^geus. 

Med. O Jove, and Justice daughter of Jove, and 
thou light of the sun, now shall I hecome glorious in 
victory over my foes, O my friends, and I have entered 
upon the path ; and now I have a hope that mine ene- 
mies will suffer retribution. For this man, where I was 
most in difficulty, has appeared a harbour for my de- 
signs : from him will I make fast the stern cables of 
my bark, when I have arrived at the city and the 
citadel of Pallas. But now I will impart to thee all 
my plans : and listen to my words not as to a pleasing 
tale. Having sent one of my servants to Jason, I will 
request him to come into my presence ; and when he is 
come, I vnll speak soft words to him, how I assent to 
these proceedings and how good they are,9 — ^this^ royal 
alliance which he is contracting, having deserted me — 
and that they are expedient and well judged ; and I 
will ask that my children may remain, not with the 
view of leaving my children in a hostile land for my 
foes to insult over, but that I may slay by subtilty the 
daughter of the king. For I will send them with gifts 
in their hands, bearing* them to the bride, that so they 
may not be exiled from the land, [^bearing a finely woven 
robe and a chaplet wrought of gold] and if she receive 
the adornment and cast it around her person, miserably 
shall she perish, and whoever else shall touch the dam- 

• 777. KoX&g €X«v. P. pdvvojv o^q Ix^i . , ,Kai [Xe'fw] 

> 778. om. P. — The con- ^vfi<l>opa iivai k, r. X. If 

struction according to Din- ix^iv be read (as in P. & 

dorPs text will be. Xs^io . . wq Klmsl.) it must depend upon 

doKti jxoi ravra Kai [a>c] TavTa Xk^u), 

KaX&s ixtif J. ©• 01 ydfioi rv- * 786. om^ P. 


34 MEDBA. [789—816. 

sel : with sucH drugs will I anoint tlie gifts. Here 
however I cease this subject. — For I was bewailing 
what a deed remains for me then to do : for I must slay 
my children : there is no one who shall rescue them 
from me. Then, when I have overthrown in ruin the 
whole house of Jason, I will go forth from the land, 
fl)dng the (pollution of the) murder of my children 
most dear to me, and having da^ed a most unholy deed. 
For to be derided by one's foes is a thing not to be 
endured, my friends. Let it proceed : what profit is it 
for me to live any longer ? For^ me there is neither 
country nor home nor refuge from my misery. Then 
was I in error when I left my father s halls, beguiled 
by the words of a Greek, who shall, please God, suflTer 
retribution at my hand. For neither shall he ever see 
henceforward his children bom of me alive, nor shall he 
beget a child of his newly married bride : for miserable 
must she miserably perish by my spells. Let no one 
account me contemptible or weak, much less peaceful, 
but of the contrary disposition, to my foes a grievous 
foe, and to my friends a generous friend : for the lives 
of such as these are most glorious. 

Chor. Since thou hast imparted this intention to me, 
I, desiring both to do thee service, and at the same time 
upholding the laws of mortals, warn thee not to do this 

Med. It must be so : but there is an excuse for thee, 
in saying these things; for thou art not wronged as 
I am. 

Chor. But wilt thou endure to slay thy two children, 

> 798. oOr' ifioi P. 

817—849.] MEDBA. 35 

Med. Aye: for so would my husband be most grieved. 

Chor. But thou at least wilt become the most 
wretched of women. 

Med. Let it go on,—- all words that intervene* are 
superfluous. But come, go thou and summon Jason : 
for thee I employ in all matters of fidelity — but say* 
nothing of my resolutions, if as I deem thou art well 
disposed^ to thy mistress, and art a woman. 

Happy is the race of Erechtheus from of old, and 
children are they of the blessed Gods, feeding on 
wisdom most renowned, from a soil holy and inviolate, 
passing ever lightly through the clearest ether ; in that 
land where, they say,7 golden-haired harmony of old 
brought forth the nine chaste Pierian Muses : and they 
tell too that Cypris, quaffing draughts from the sweet- 
flowing Cephisus, breathes over the land^ gentle sweetly 
blovdng gales of air ; and ever and anon casting upon 
her locks a fragrant rosewreath, sends forth loves to sit 
by the side of wisdom, his fellow workmen in every 
kind of virtue. How then shall either the city of sacred 
streams or the hospitable^ land of friends receive thee, 

* 819. oifv D. ol V. P. » 837. x^pf^Q- P- — ** Non 

* 822. Xs^ftc. P. This is ob- dicitur ^dari fii Karkxitv aqa& 
jected to by ElmsL because me perfadit; sed ^dtap /lov 
Xk^tiQ firidkv is a solecism. It Karix^iv, Aristoph. £q. 1088. 
should be \k%HQ oiSkv, But dXK* iydt ilSov ovap Kai uo{r~ 
the future here would seem to doKiX ^ 9tdg aifrr^ Tov oiifiH 
carry with it an imperative Karax^'^v apvraivy vXovOvyL 

force as in JEsch : sc. Th. 239. eiav, — Lys. 651. ^vvip 

fitidkv rStv ^ Ip^Xq Kard 'ifupov rifACiv»,»*KaTa7rvivffrj, 

vt6\iv, Plura dabit Matth. Gr. Gr. 

« 823. (ppovtXc y* eiJ. P. §376 p. 504.— Elmsl. 

^831. Or: the nine muses ' 848. ir6u7rifioc=rrjv ic 

established {<J>VTtv(Tai) golden- wtfifOtiffOv iiridtxofikvti, Sch. 
baired Harmony. 

36 MBDBA. [850—880. 

the slayer of her children, who art unholy among 
others ?i Consider the deathblow of thy children, con- 
sider what a pollution of blood thou art contracting ! 
Do not — by thy knees we all of us in eyery way sup- 
plicate thee — do not slay thy children.' Whence wilt 
thou gain presence of mind or hand and he&rt against 
thy children, employing fearful daring P Or how, cast- 
ing thine eyes upon thy children, canst thou abstain 
from weeping at the fatal murder? Thou canst not, 
when thy children fall suppliant before thee, stain thy 
murderous hand with steadfast soul.^ 

Jas. I am come at thy bidding : for foe as thou art 
to me, thou shalt not^ fail of this at least ; but I will 
hear what new thing thou desirest of me. 

Med. Jason, I beg of thee to be forgiving of what 
has been said by me. And it is but reasonable thou 
shouldst bear with my passion^ for many a friendly ser- 
vice has passed between us two. For I have been rea- 
soning with myself, and have reproached myself. Rash 
woman that I am, why am I mad, and incensed against 
them that counsel wisely ; and why do I set myself at 
feud with the princes of the land, and with my husband, 
who is doing for us that which is most expedient, by 
marrying a princess, and begetting brothers to my chil- 
dren ? shall I not be quit of my wrath ? What is it I 
suffer, while the gods dispense aright? Have I not 

* 850. rdv ovv Mav ; hit* [oJort] atangw {ilval troiy, 
SXKiav <I^:k^^fal — r. ^er'aXXcuv How wilt thou keep the fatal 
VKS^ai, Cum aliis, non mecum, murder from beiag wept oyer 
delibera. — Matth. Cum aliis, by thee 1 

non cum Atheniensibus. — Sch. ^ 865. rXafiovi — P. 

* 855. /ij) om. P. * 867. ov r' &v —P. for ov roi 
' 856. 7r69tv D. ir&s ^^ P« ^i^t thou certainly sbalt not. 

trwc ^x^ctcic fioXpav ^ovov, 

880 — 906.] MEDEA. 37 

children,^ and know I not that we must flee the land, 
and are in need of friends ? Revolving these things, I 
felt that I was entertaining very evil counsels, and was 
foolishly incensed. Now therefore do I praise thee, 
and thou seemest to me^ to act wisely in contracting for 
us this additional alliance : but I was foolish, I, who 
ought to have had a share in these plans, and to have 
joined in concluding them, and to have stood by the 
nuptial bed, and to have felt joy in waiting on thy 
bride. But we women are what we are — I will not 
say merely evil. Wherefore® it becomes thee not to 
assimilate thyself to the evil, nor to repay foolish things 
with folly. I give in and confess that I was foolish 
then, but now I have taken better counsel as to these 
matters. O my children my children come hither, 
leave the house, come forth and with me greet and ad- 
dress, your father, and at the same time with your 
mother be reconciled from your former enmity with 
your friends. For there is a truce between us and wrath 
has given place. Take hold of his right hand. Woe . 
is me for my grief! I think, indeed, on somewhat that 
is hidden. Will ye then, O my children, live a long 
time thus to stretch forth your dear arms ? Wretched 
that I am, how tearful I am and full of fear : but by 
putting away, after so long a time, my variance vdth 
your father, I have filled this^ tender visage with tears. 
Chor. Through my eyes, also, has gushed a gentle 

' 880. oitK tiffi fikv fiot wai- '905. repiivtiv — P. as if from 

SiC ; olSa 5i. . . .0(Xa>v. Have r£p«voc«-Hennann would read 

I not children already 1 and I rfptiv<itv (JbaKpvmv sc.) not 

know that etc. — P. considering Tkpuva at all a 

^884. fftoOpoviiv T* ifjioi P. becoming epithet for Medea's 

' 890. xp^v. P. countenance. 

*B 3 

ZS MEI>EA. [906—931; 

tear : and oh that the mischief may not proceed ifarther 
than it is now ! 

Jas. I praise, lady, the present, for I do not blame 
even thy former actions. For it is but reasonable that 
[]one of the^ female sex should indulge anger against her 
husband if he be secretly trafficking^ in wedlock with 
another. But thy heart has gone over to the better 
side, and thou hast learned, although in time, the coun- 
sel that must prevail. These are the actions of a sensi- 
ble woman. But for you, my childreUj not without 
care hath your father, with the blessing of the gods, 
taken great forethought for your welfare. For I deem 
that you, with your brothers, will yet be the first in 
this land of Corinth. But do ye wax strong : and all 
else your father is e£Pecting for you, and of the gods 
whosoever is propitious. And may I behold you well 
nurtured, arrived at the prime of youth, victorious over 
ray foes. — But thou, wherefore bedewest thou thine 
eyeballs with gentle tears, turning away thy fair neck, 
and receivest not these words of mine with pleasure ? 

Mep. Tis nothing : I was in thought concerning 
these children. 

Jas. Be of good courage then : for I will take good 
care of these. 

Med* I will do so : in sooth, I will not distrust thy 
words r but a woman is a weak creature, and disposed 
to tears. 

Jas. Why, then,* wretched woman, dost thou groan 
over these children ? 

Med. I brought them forth ; and w^hen thou wast 
praying that my children might live.^ a feeling of pity 

'^ WO. iraptfivoXStPTi y\ P. • 929. ri drjra X»av roigd* — 

P. Wherefore so exceasively. 

dd2— 950.] MEDEA. 89 

crept over me that it might not be do. But as to the 
reasons why thou hast come to speak with me, some 
have been ahready said, an<J the rest I will mention? now. 
Since it seems good to the princes to send me forth from 
the land, and since for me also tiiis is the best course, I 
know it well, that I should not dwell either in thy way 
or in the way of the rulers of the land, since I am 
deemed hostile to your house; I indeed will depart from 
this land in exile : but in order that thy children may 
be brought up by thine own hand, do thou entreat 
Creon that they be not exiled from the land. 

Jas. I fear I shall not be able^ to persuade him; how- 
ever, I must make the attempt. 

Med. But do you, however, bid thy wife ask of her 
father that the children be not exiled from this land. 

Jas. By all means. And indeed I imagine, too, that 
I shall persuade het ; if, as I suppose, she is like the 
rest of her sex. 

Med. And I too will take part with thee in this 
labour: for I will send her gifts, which far excel in 
splendour all that now are among mankind ; I will send 
my children bearing a finely woven robe, and a chaplet^ 
worked of gold. But with all speed let one of the 

^933. fivriffOritrofiai. — fit- fivri<r9iitrofAdim*mentioaem ftk- 

ftvriffOfjtai, P. ** Hicform&hujus clam. — (probante Dind.) 

ve'rbi, ab Homero etiam adhi- * 941. oific old* <lip* ei....P. 

bit& n. X, 390. semper utuntur This is a false emendation : for 

Trag^ici ; ill& nunquam. Idem the construction then would be 

dici potest de K\ri9ri(rofiai et ovk oW apa ci ttc to- ci>.—-The 

KiKkiiVouai : sed p\ri9if<roiJuu construction as it stands is ovk 

et /3e/3Xi}(7o/iai promiscue usur- oUa tl Trncraifii Slv^ovk oUa 

pant." [as Eurip. Hec. 863. ei7r£i<r(i;s06)3oce^^€t(r(i>(supr. 

'AxaioiQ Eldial3kri9ri(rofiai2Lad 184)ssvereor ut persuadeam. 

Heracl. 423.] But Matthiie — Elmsl. 

maintains that both are in use ; * 949. itXSkov, D. ari^Q, P. 
fitfivritrofiai « recordabor, and 

40 MEDBA. [951—975. 

attendants bring hither the array. She will be happy 
not in one point but in ten thousand ; both in having 
met with thee, a most valiant man, for the partner of 
her bed, and in having acquired an adornment which 
in old time the Sun, the sire of my siie, gave to his pro- 
geny. Take these bridal gifts, my children, in your 
hands, and bear them and present them to the happy 
royal bride ; in sooth no despicable gifts will she 

Jas. But wherefore, O foolish woman, dost thou 
deprive thyself of these ? Deemest thou that the house 
of the king lacks raiment, or deemest thou it lacks gold? 
Keep these presents, give them not away. For if as I 
deem my wife holds me in any account, she will prefer 
me to wealth, I know it well. 

Med. Tell not me : there is a sa3dng, that^ ^^ gifts 
can persuade even gods ;" and gold is mightier among 
mortals than ten thousand words. Hers is the favour 
of heaven, her fortune now' the god exalteth, she is 
young in rule : but with my life would I exchange the 
exile of my children, not with gold only. But do you, 
my children, having entered the wealthy palace, suppli- 
cate your father's new bride, yes,7 my mistress too, 
beseech her, that you be not exiled from the land, pre- 
senting her with this apparel: for this is most of all 
required, that she receive these gifts into her own hand. 
Go with all speed : and be ye messengers of good tid- 
ings to your mother, of the boon which she desires to 
obtain, having succeeded in your mission. 

* 964. d&pa OeoifQ ireiOu, mibi, capiant hominesque 

iwp* aidoiovQ fiaffiXijag, Plat. deosqae. 

•Rep. III. 390 E. Ovid's Art of ^ 970. Sunririv r* ifinVf P. 
Love, iii. 635. Munera, credo 

976—1004.] MBDBA. 41 

Chor. Now have I no longer any hope for the life 
of the children, no hope any longer : for abready are they 
on the road to death. The bride will receive^ wretch 
that she is, she wiU receive the baneful golden fillet ; 
and she will herself place around her golden hair the 
adornment of Hades, taking it in her hands. And their 
beauty and divine radiance will beguile hca: to array 
herself in the robe® and in the chaplet wrought of gold^ : 
and soon she will be arraying herself for a bride among 
the dead. Into such toils will she fall, and such a 
deathful fate will she incur, a wretched woman : and 
destruction she will not elude. But thou, O wretched 
man, O unhappy bridegroom, seeker of the alliance of 
princes, unconsciously art' thou bringing on thy chil- 
dren impending destruction, and on thy bride a hateful 
death : wretch that thou art, how much of thy destiny 
art thou passing by !^ But I proceed to bewail thy 
griefs, O wretched mother ! thou, who art about to 
murder the children for the sake of the Inarriage bed 
forsaking which unlawfully, thy husband dwells with 
another partner of his couch. 


My mistress, these thy children are excused from 
exile, and the royal bride has received thy presents gra- 
ciously in her hands, and in that q^uarter there is peace 
for thy children, 

Med. Ah ! 

* 982. wBTrXiav, P. ** And destroctioo, thou art bringing 
the beauty etc. of the robes" upon thy children and thy bride 

• 983. xQvvoTivKTov Tt (TTtfp, a hateful death. 
XpvatoTiVKTov <TTt<f>, P. ' Elmsley, after Portus, How 

1 991. Rather, according to art thou fallen from thy former 

Hermann's punctuation; un* happiness! 
conscious of their impendin|^ 

42 MEDEA. [1005—1025. 

Pjed. Why standest thou thus troubled when thou 
art in good fortune?* 

Med. Woe ! woe ! 

P-fiD. These laments are not in harmony with the 
news I have brought. 

Med. Alas ! and again alas ! 

PjED. Can it be that without knowing it I am an- 
nouncing some calamity, and have I failed in being a 
messenger of good tidings ? 

Med. Thou hast brought such tidings as thou hast 
brought ; tkee I blame not. 

P-fiD. Wherefore then standest thou with downcast 
visage, and pourest forth tears ? 

Med. Great necessity compels me, old man : for 
the gods and I in my madness have contrived these 

PiED. Take courage : in sooth thou wilt even yet 
return home through the means of thy children. 

Med. Others shall I send to their home first — ^wretch 
that I am ! 

P-ED. In sooth thou art not the only woman who has 
been separated from her children. — ^It becomes one who 
is a mortal to bear misfortunes patiently. 

Med. I will do so. But go thou within the house, 
and provide for the children what is necessary for the 
day. O my children, my children, you indeed have now a 
country, and a home in which deserting me wretched 
ye will dwell, deprived for ever of your mother ! But 
I must straightway go forth to another land an outcast, 
before I have the enjoyment of your presence and behold 

' Afler line 1005, some edi- not these words of mine with 
tious have, '' Whj toruest thou pleasure." 
•way thj cheek, and recelTest 

1026—1055.] MEDEA. 43 

you prosperous, before I have bedecked your couches 
and your wives and your marriage beds, and have ^held 
the torches on high. O wretch that I am, for my stub- 
bom pride ! In vain then my children did I rear you, 
and in vain did I suffer toils and was worn out with 
labour, enduring cruel pangs in childbirth. Verily there 
was once a time when I wretched entertained many a 
hope in you ; that you would cherish me in mine old 
age, and when I was dead would lay me out decently 
with your hands, a thing enviable among mankind ; but 
now that sweet thought indeed hath perished. For 
deprived of you, I shall pass a life grievous and painful 
to me : and ye will not any longer look on your mother 
with your fond eyes, when ye have passed over to an- 
other state of life. Alas, alas ! wherefore look ye on me 
with your eyes, my children ? Wherefore smile ye on 
me your last smile ? Woe, woe ! what am I to do ? for 
my heart is sinking, O women, since I have looked on 
the joyous faces of my children. I shall not have 
strength to do it. Farewell, my former plans; I will 
carry my children out of the land. Why must I, pain- 
jug the father of these children with evil done to them, 
incur myself twice as great misery ? Not I in sooth — I 
will not. Farewell my plans ! And yet, what am I 
about ? Do I wish to afford ridicule by letting my foes 
go unpunished ? Dare it, I must. But what cowardice * 
of mine is this, to suggest to my thoughts words of pity ! 
Begone, my children, into the house : and whosoever he 
be to whom it is unlawful to be present at my sacrifice, 

* 1027. dvatrx^Oeiv, P. as » 1061. K6Kfis=slMtin roca- 

though inf. pres. of dvatrx'sOm, live: or, it is the part of, &c. 
melius dvaffxiOeiVf lengthened 
form Inf. 2. A or. of di/£X(D. cf. 
Elmsl. et Herm. ad loc. 

44 MEDEA. [1055—1083. 

— ^let him look to it : but I will not slacken inj hand. 
Ah, ah ! 

Do not thou then my heart, do not thou at least do 
this ! let them alone, wretched one, spare thy children ! 
In another land living with us they will gladden thee. — 
But no, by the avenging fiends that dwell below with 
Hades, never shall this be so, that I will give over my 
children for their foes to insult over.^ 

At any rate their fate is sealed, and they shall not 
escape it. And even now the chaplet is upon her head, 
and the royal bride is perishing in her robes, I know 
full well. But, since I am now going on a most woeful 
errand, and am about to send these, one yet more woeful, 
I would address my children. Give me, my children, 
give your mother your right hands to embrace. O dear- 
est hand and lips 7 most dear to me, and noble form and 
visage of my children, may ye be happy ^ — but there 9 : 
for happiness here your sire hath robbed you of. O kiss 
so sweet, O skin so soft, and breath most fragrant, of my 
children ! Go, go ; I can no longer bear to look upon 
you, but am vanquished by my miseries. And indeed I 
know how evil are the deeds I am about to perpetrate : 
but passion is stronger than my resolves, which is the 
cause of greatest woes to mortals. 


Many a time ere now have I gone through subtler 
reasonings, and joined in greater contests than it becomes 

* After line 1061, some edi- SaifiovoiTriv. Elmsl. — adopt- 
tions ha^e, ** At all events it is ed in Scbo1efie1d*s edition of 
necessary that tbey die; and Porson •* Secundam personam 
since tbey must die, I will slay dualem a terti& diversam non 
them, I who brought them fuisse, primus, ni fallor, monui 
forth." ad Aristopb. Ach. 733." Eimsl. 

^1071. ffTdfia. KCLpa, P. ' Ibid. Uii, i. e. in Hades : 

* 1073. MainovoiTOv — iif^ ivOdSt, i. e. on earth. 

1084—1116.3 MEDEA. 45 

the race of woman to seek into : for certainly there is a 
muse too among us, who dwells with us to teach us 
wisdom : not indeed among all women : for fe^ in truth 
among many are the race of women which perchance 
thou mightest discover, not^ also averse to wisdom. 
And I assert that whoever of mortals are wholly untried 
and have never begotten children, excel in happiness 
those who have been parents. Those on the one hand 
who are * childless, from ignorance whether children be a 
pleasure or a trouble to mortals, never having had them, 
are kept off from many a toil. But those in whose house 
is springing up a sweet progeny of children, I see wast- 
ing away with anxiety the livelong time : first indeed, 
how they shall bring up their children well, then how they 
shall leave them means of subsistence : and again after 
these anxieties, still it is uncertain whether they be toiling 
for the worthless or the good. And one evil, the last of all 
that befall mortals, I will now declare : For even grant 
that they have acquired a competency and a means of 
support, and that their children have grown' up to man- 
hood and have turned out a goodly race : yet if this fate* 
be theirs, death vanishes with them into Hades bearing 
off the lives of their children. How then can it profit 
mortals that, for the sake of having children, the goda 
in addition to all other evils should still inflict this most 
distressing grief upon them ? 

Med. My friends, it is now long since awaiting the 

' 1089. oi)K Airdfiovaov P. Verissima mihi nanc videtur 

But Travpov KoifK airofjt, as emendatio Elrasleii. — Dind. 
TToXXd Kai ftsyaXa, — Elmsl. ^ 1094. ol [ibv y* uTiKvoi, P. 

TTavpov dk ykvog {fiiav Iv those, at least, who, — 
woXKaig ^ 1108. -ffiafiaTa 9* ijprjv 

i^poiQ &V t<ra>c) iifrrjXOt TEKVtov. P. 

oifK dirdfiovffov, — Elmsl. * 1109. fcvp^asi. P. 

46 BIEDEA. [1116—1138. 

event I have been in anxious expectation as to affairs in 
that quarter, how they will turn out. And even now I 
see advancing hither one of the attendants of Jason : 
and his agitated breathing shows that he is about to 
announce some new calamity. 

Messenger. O Medea, thou who hast wrought a 
fearful and a * lawless deed, flee, flee, and leave ^ behind 
thee neither an ocean car nor chariot that traverses the 

Med. But what event has occurred to me, to demand 
this flight? 

Mess. The royal damsel hath but just perished, she 
and Creon who begat her, by thy poisons. 

Med. Most welcome news hast thou spoken; and 
from this time henceforth thou shalt be in the number 
of my benefactors and my friends. 

Mess. What sayest thou? art thou in thy right 
senses and not mad, l&dy, thou who joyest to hear that 
the royal household has been 7 outraged, and fearest not 
such deeds? 

Med. I too have somewhat to answer to thy words 
at least. But be not hasty, my friend; but tell me 
how they perished ; for twice as great joy wouldst thou 
give me, if they died in utter misery. 

Mess. When thy twofold progeny had arrived vdth 
their father and had entered the bridal halls, we rejoiced, 

* 1121. irapdvofiSv r'. ira- sensa dicit, "noll& quft potiri 
pavSfnag P. thou who hast potes effugiendi opportunitate 
lawlessly » &c. omissk :" i, e. neglecting neither. 

• 1122. Xtirovtra — Nobis, si — Dind. and Matth. 

▼itio caret locus, hyperboUce f 1130. yKi<rfikvri P. thou 

yidetur loqui nuncius : ^*fuge, who, hanng outraged the rojal 

nee navi uUd nee curru relicto,** household, i. e. hearth of princes, 

quo ne quis persequi te possit. joyest at hearing it. 
.— Herm. But Xtwovca hoc 

1139—1172.] MEDEA. 47 

we slaves who were grieving for thy woes ; and straight- 
way much whispering passed from ear to ear, that thou 
and thy hushand had reconciled yoiir former strife. And 
one kisses the hand and another the golden hair of the 
children; and I myself too from delight accompanied 
thy children into the women's apartments. And the 
mistress whom now we reverence in place of thee, before 
indeed she saw thy two children, kept her eye fixed 
eagerly upon Jason : but then, however, she veiled her 
eyes, and turtied away her fair cheek, being annoyed at 
the entrance of the children : but thy husband tried to 
appease the passion and the anger of the damsel, saying 
these words : Be not hostile to thy friends, but cease 
from thy wrath, and turn back again thy head, ac- 
counting those friends whom thy husband so accounts ; 
and receive the presents and entreat thy father to remit 
the penalty of exile to these children, for my sake^ 
And when she looked on the apparel, she held out no 
longer, but assented in everything to her husband : and 
before their father and thy children were far from the 
palace, she took the embroidered robes and put them on, 
and placing the golden chaplet around her ringlets, she 
arranges her hair by a glittering mirror, smiling at the 
lifeless image of her form. And then rising from her 
seat she passes through the house, treading delicately, 
with snow-white foot, exulting in the gifts, and ever 
and anon glancidg from her eyes upon her advanced 
instep. But after that however there was a fearful sight 
to see. For changing colour she staggers back sidelong 
trembling in every limb, and hardly succeeds in throw- 
ing herself upon her seat before falling to the ground : 
and some old woman of her attendants fancying, I sup- 
pose, that sudden terror from Pan or some other god had 

48 MEDEA. [1173—1197. 

fallen upon her, raised a cry of prayer, until at least she 
«aw the white foam, running down ^ from her mouth, 
and saw her rolling 9 the balls of her eyes, and that there 
was no blood in her complexion. Then she sent forth a 
mighty wail responsive to the cry of supplication : and 
straightway one rushed to the palace of the father, and 
another to the newly married husband, to tell the cala- 
mity which had befallen the bride : and the whole house 
resounds with the din of frequent footsteps. And by 
this time a quick runner stretching his ^ limbs would 
have been touching the goal of a course six plethralong ; 
when she, from silence ^ and from eyes fast closed, with 
fearful groans, she the wretched one awoke : for a two- 
fold woe was advancing against her. In the first place, 
the golden chaplet that lay upon her head sends forth a 
wondrous stream of all-devouring fire; and the fine-spun 
robes, the gifts of thy children, were devouring the white 
flesh of the ill-fated one. Then leaping from her seat 
she flies, all in flames, shaking her locks and her head to 
one side and another, striving to cast off the chaplet : 
but the gold kept the headband fast, and the fire, when- 
e'er she shook her locks, blazed forth the more and twice 
as furiously : and she falls to the ground, vanquished by 
her evil fate, hardly to be recognised when seen, save by 
her sire alone. For neither was the expression of her 

^1173. ^id 0T6/ia, P.'' oozing gulari qu&dam vi, aut pro ad- 
through her lips." verbiis, aut, quod eodem redit, 

' 1174. diro, P. and Elmsl. in tmesi ponantur, retinere na- 

" Nob quidem, ut alibi de- turalem accentum suum, qui in 

monstravimus, nihil putamus disyllabis est in penult. — Herm. 

certius esse quam praeposi- * 1181. ii/IXjca>v.P.ict5Xoi/= 

tiones per se non esse oxjtonas, pedem, crus. — Elmsi. 

ideoque, ubi aut post nomen, 1182. oLv Hirrfro P. 

ad quod pertinent aut ante ^1183. lit. I|. avav^so/x/xa- 

nomen quidem sed cum sin- rog from silent eye. 

1197—1228.] MEDEA. 49 

eyes visible, nor her comely visage, but blood was drip- 
ping from the crown of her head, blood mingled with fire, 
and the flesh was peeling off from her bones like the tears 
that ooze from the fir>tree, with the nnseen gnawings of 
poison, a fearful sight. And on all there was a fear of 
touching the dead body ; for we had her fate as a warn- 
ing. But the wretched father suddenly approaching 
the house, in ignorance of the mischance, throws himself 
upon the corpse ; and straightway he wailed aloud, and 
embracing the body he kissed it, addressing it in such 
words as these : " O my ill-fated child, which of the 
gods has thus unworthily destroyed thee ? Who is it 
that makes the old man verging on the grave to be be- 
reaved of thee ? Woe is me, oh that I might die with 
thee, my child I But when he had ceased from his 
lamentations and wailings, wishing to raise up his aged 
body, he kept clinging to the finely spun robes like ivy 
to the branches of the laurel, and fearful strugglings 
were there : for he was striving to raise his knee from 
the ground, but she was holding him back ; and when 
any one strove to drag him off by force, he tore the aged 
flesh from his bones. But in time the fire of life was 
extinguished, and the wretched man breathed out his 
soul ; for no longer could he support his misery. And 
they lie corpses, the daughter and the aged sire, side by 
side ; a misery worthy to be regretted with tears. But 
let thy concerns form no part of the account; for thou 
wilt thyself discover a refuge from the penalty of guilt : 
but not for the first time now do I deem the affairs of 
mortal men to be but a shadow, nor should I be afraid 
to say that those among men who are deemed to be 
wise and subtle reasoners, deserve the imputation of the 
greatest folly ; for of mortals there is not one who is a 
•f 3 

50 MEDEA. [1228—1255. 

happy man [Tiappy by nature P.] : yet if wealth flow 
in upon him, one man might become more fortunate than 
another, but happy would he be never. 

Chorus. In this same day, methinks, the god is about 
to bring many evils in just retribution upon Jason. O ill- 
fated daughter of Creon, how do we bewail thy evil fate, 
thou who hast gone to the halls [gates P.^ of Hades, 
by reason of thy nuptials with Jason. 

Med. My friends, this deed is fixed, that with all 
speed I slay my children and then fly this land ; and 
not by delay give up my oflspring for a more hostile 
hand to murder.* It is absolutely necessary that they 
die : and since it is fated, I will slay them, I who brought 
them forth. But come, arm thee, my heart ; wherefore 
do I hesitate ^ to do these deeds of evil, fearful yet ne- 
cessary ? Come, O my wretched hand, grasp thou the 
sword, grasp it. On ^ to the starting point of a life of 
pain ; and play not the coward, nor even have remem- 
brance of thy children, how dear they are to thee, that 
thou art their mother : but for this short day at least 
forget thy children, and afterward lament : for even 
though thou slay them, nevertheless they were dear to 
me, and I am an ill-fated woman. 

Chob. O Earth and thou all brilliant beam of the 
Sun, look down, look on this wretched woman, before 
she raise against her children her ensanguined hand, 
slayer of its own flesh : for from thy ^ golden seed are 

» 1240-1. om. P. * 1245. /SaXjSTJa- irpbe 

* 1243. ftj) 'TTpdfTCHV, Elm- dy&va, — Elmsl. /3aXj3tc limen 

sleius legit /ai) od, probante significat : iride ad Antig. Soph. 

Matthiaeo: quod necessarium 131. — Herm. 

esse vix credo : fjirj vgaooeiv 

estoioTc u^ icoacoHv, — Schole- • 1256. tolq om. P. 


1256—1277.] MEDEA. 51 

they sprung, and there is fear "^ for the blood of gods^ 
that it fall by the hands of men. But do thou, O hea- 
ven-bom light restrain her, stay her hand, take forth 
from her house the wretched murderous fury, excited by 
avenging fiends.^ Fruitless 9 then perishes the toil thou 
hast endured for thy children ; fruitlessly, then, hast 
thou borne thy loved progeny, O thou that hast left that 
most inhospitable entrance between the dark clashing 
rocks. O miserable woman, wherefore does the wrath 
of thy soul fall so heavily upon thee, and why is hostile 
slaughter successively renewed ? For the pollutions of 
kindred blood when it falls to the earth is a woeful thing 
to mortals, they are curses from the god upon the 
house of the murderer, curses in accordance Qwith the 

1st. Child. Woe is me, what shall I do? Whither 
may I escape the hands of my mother ? 

2d. Child. I know not, my dearest brother, for we 
perish ! 

Chor. Hearest thou the cry, hearest thou the cry of 
the children ? O wretched one, O ill-fated woman ! 
Shall I enter the house ? I deem it right to rescue the 
children from murder. 

Children. Yea, in the name of the Gods, rescue us ; 

■^ 1256. aifiaTi. alfia, P. " It l^cXc. . . . vn'^vwkU^e. If so, 

is a fearful thing for the blood dXaardptov must be taken with 

of Grods to fall." oiKUiv as an adjective " the 

* 1260. *v7r' aXaffrSpatv, house haunted bj fiends'' as 

Haec verba alii aliter ezplicant. in Soph. Ant. 974. and iEsch. 

Elmsl. This singularly satis- Fr. 416. — Again; oiKtav may 

factory announcement is not be taken as dependent on 'Eptviv 

followed by any specimen of — "Fury of her house.'' 

the explauations given, except ' 1262. &pa. P. 
that of the Scholiast, viz. : 

52 MEDEA. [1277—1303. 

for 'twill be in the hour of need ; since even now we are 
nearly fallen into the toils of the sword. 

Chor. O wretched woman, surely thou must have 
been of rock or of iron, thou who wilt slay with thine 
own hand the seed thou didst thyself bring forth. One 
woman in truth I have heard o^ one woman of all before 
thee who raised her hand against her dear children, Ino, 
maddened by the gods, when the wife of Jove drove her 
forth in distraction from her house, and the wretched 
one on account of the impious murder of her children 
casts herself into the surge, extending her foot beyond 
the ocean cliff, and there she perishes, dying with her 
two dead children. What fearful deed then could still 
remain to be done? O thou nuptial bed of women 
fraught with toils, what great evils hast thou already 
inflicted upon mortals ! 

Jason. Ladies, ye who stand near this house, can it 
be that Medea, who has perpetrated these fearful deeds, 
is still in these halls, or has she departed in flight ? For ^ 
she must either be hidden beneath the earth, or have 
winged her flight into the expanse of air, if she will 
escape giving satisfaction to the house of the king. Trusts 
she that having slain the princes of the land, she will 
herself escape ^ unpunished from these walls ? Bi^t since 
I care not for her as for my offspring, on her indeed 
they will inflict evil on whom she has inflicted it : but 
I have come to save the lives of my children, that the 

» 1296. viv,-'vvv, P. This « 1300. <i0yoff. aOuioi:. P. 

emendation is to avoid the tau- But dOCtoe (from dwi)) would 

tologj of viv and a^k in the be accented ada>oc* If written 

same line: as Elmsl. for <r02 with the circumflex, the word 

proposes yk : but Hermann de« is from Quiii^ whence dOuHogs^ 

fends the vulgar reading. dOi^oQ. cf. Elmsl. 

1303—1322.] MEDEA. 53 

relations of the dead do them no injury, exacting ven- 
geance for the impious murder committed hy their 

Chor. O wretched man, thou knowest not to what a 
pitch of misery thou hast come, Jason ; for so never 
wouldst thou have uttered these words, 

Jason. What is it then ? Can it he that she wishes 
to slay me also ? 

Chor. Thy children are dead hy their mother's hand. 

Jas. Woe is me, what wilt thou tell me ? how thou 
hast destroyed me, woman ! 

Chor. Lay thy plans henceforth under the assurance 
that thy children are no more. 

Jas. But where did she slay them, without or within 
the house ? 

Chor. Having opened the gates thou wilt behold the 
slaughter of thy children. 

Jas. Undo the bolts with all haste, my attendants, 
loosen the fastenings, that I may behold a twofold* curse ; 
that I may look upon the dead, and avenge myself on 
her by her blood. 

Med. 3 Wherefore shakest and forcest thou these gates, 
searching for the corpses, and for me who have done the 
deed ? Cease from this toil. But if thou hast need of 
me, say what thou desirest, but never shalt thou touch 
me with thy hand. Such a chariot hath the sun, sire 
of my sire, given to me, a tower of defence against the 
hand of an enemy. 

' 1317. Person is of opinion Euripides being quizzed for 

that the original copy had his harsh metaphor — Aristoph. 

•* ri Tovah kiviXq K&va-' Nubes, 1399. & Kaivwv iviav 

fiox^iveig \6yovg ; " Where- Kivrjrd Kai fioxX«vrd — altered 

fore dost thou agitate and heave it to the present text, 
up these words!'' and that 

54 MEDEA. 1323—1353.] 

Jas. O thou detested thing, thou woman most hate- 
ful to the gods and to me and to the whole race of men ! 
thou who, a mother, couldst endure to imbue a sword 
in the blood of thy children, and hast made me childless 
and wretched ; and yet, having done these deeds thou 
lookest in the face of both sun and earth, thou who hast 
dared a most unholy deed. Mayest thou perish ! But 
I now am wise, not being wise then when from thy 
home and from a barbarian land I led thee to a Grecian 
home, thee a mighty curse, the betrayer of thy sire and 
of the land that supported thee. But thy evil genius 
the gods have launched upon me ; for it was after hav- 
ing slain thine own brother, who shared with thee the 
same hearth, that thou didst embark in the ship Argo 
with beauteous prow ; from such deeds didst thou com- 
mence, and then, when made my wife, and when thou 
hadst borne me children, for the sake of thy bed and thy 
nuptial couch thou hast slain them. There is no woman 
of Greece who would ever have endured to do this deed, 
not one of those before whom I consented to marry thee, 
an alliance hateful to me and deathful, thee a lioness, 
not a woman, with a nature more savage than the 
Tyrrhenian Scylla. But not with ten thousand re- 
proaches could I sting thee, such daring was bom in 
thee : mayst thou go to perdition, perpetrator of shame- 
less deeds and polluted with the blood of thy children ! 
But for me it is left to bewail my evil fate, I who shall 
neither enjoy the nuptial bed of my new bride, nor shall 
I be able to address my children alive whom I begot 
and nurtured, for I have lost them altogether. 

Med. I would have spoken at length in answer to 
these words, did not our father Jove know what thou 
hast received at my hand and what deeds thou hast 

fry/- i 4^1 

1353—1371.] MEDEA. 55 

done to me ; but thou wast mistaken, when thou ex- 
pectedst after havrng scorned my marriage bed to lead 
a life of pleasure deriding me, nor was the princess nor 
he who plighted her to thee in marriage, Creon, likely 
to cast me out from this land, unpunished. In reply to 
these deeds, call me both a lioness, if thou wilt, and 
Scylia, who inhabited the Tyrrhenian ]^Hni ; for, as I CA4-C 
ought, I have reached thy heart. 

Jas. Yea, but thou thyself also sufferest pain and art 
partaker of my misery. 

Med. Be sure of that : but even^ suffering answers 
its purpose, if thou deride me not. 

Jas. O mine offspring, how evil a mother have ye 
met with ! 

Med. O my children, how have ye perished by the 
wickedness of your father ! 

Jas. In sooth 'twas not my right hand at least that 
slew them.* 

Med. No : but 'twas thine insolence and thy newly 
contracted marriage. 

Jas. And for the sake of thy marriage bed didst thou 
deem it just to slay them ? 

Med. And deemest thou that this loss is a trifling 
misery to a woman ? 

Jas. Aye, to one who is chaste : but thou hast all 
evil passions. 

Med. These children no longer live : this I know will 
sting thee. 

Jas. They live, woe is me ! avengers upon thy head. 

* 1362. \v6i. XucireXcT. yel*<leyat"significare putat. — 
Sch. and Matth. ** melior Elmsl. 

tamen mihi videtur Porsoni ' 1365. oif rolvvv *rjfi7^ Se^id 

sententia qui XvEi hie '' minuit" <Tp* dirutXeoev F, neyeitheUM 

'twas not &c. 

5G MBa)EA. [1372—1397. 

Med. The gods know who hegau the wrong. 
Jas. They know in truth thine abominable soul. 
Med. Loathe me ; but thy bitter speech I detest. 
Jas. And verily I do thine : but the separation is 

Med. How then? What shall I do? for I also 
greatly wish it. 

Jas. Permit me to bury these corpses and to mourn 
over them. 

Med. Not I in sooth : for with these hands I will 
bury them myself, bearing them to the sacred precinct 
of Juno, goddess of the height ; so that no one of their 
foes may insult over them, digging up their graves. 
But in this land of Sisyphus I will institute a holy fes- 
tival and sacred mysteries henceforward, in expiation of 
this unholy slaughter. But I myself am about to go to 
the land of Erechtheus, to dwell with <^geus, the son of 
Pandion : Itnd thou, as is but right, shalt die a wretch 
miserably, being struck on the head with a fragment 
of the Argo, having seen bitter issue of thy marriage 
with me. 

Jas. But may the fury of thy children and red-handed 
Justice destroy thee. 

Med. But what god or what hero listens to thee, 
the perjurer, the deceiver of strangers ? 

Jas. Ah, thou execrable wretch and murderer of thy 
children I • 

Med. Begone to thy house, and bury thy bride. 

Jas. I go, bereft of my two children. 

Med. Thou wailest not yet : wait till thine old age.^ 

Jas. my children most beloved. 

" 1396. yffpa<TK* P. wait and grow old. 

1397—1419.] MEDEA. 57 

Med. Aye, by their mother, but not by thee. 

Jas. If so, why didst thou slay them ? 

Med. To bring thee to ruin to be sure. 

Jas. Alas ! alas ! I long to cling to the dear lips of 
my children, wretch that I am ! 

Med. Now thou addressest them, now thou salutest 
them ; but then thou didst thrust them aside. 

Jas. Grant me by the gods to touch the soft flesh of 
my children. 

Med. It cannot be : thy words are wasted in vain. 

Jas. O Jove, hearest thou this ? How I am repelled, 
and what wrongs I sufler at the hand of this polluted 
lioness, this slayer of her children? But however, so 
much as is left me and is in my power, I both bewail 
them and offer supplications ! Galling the gods to wit- 
ness, how thou hast slain my children, and forbiddest 
me to touch them with my hands and to bury their 
bodies ; those whom never ought I, who begat them, 
to have beheld slaughtered by thy hand. 

Jove in Olympus is the dispenser of many fortunes to 
mortals, and many events do the gods bring to pass 
contrary to expectation : and what seemed likely has 
not been accomplished, and for what seemed unlikely 
the god hath found out a way : and to such a conclu- 
sion hath this matter arrived. 







Chorus op Ph(enician Womew. 





Second Messenger. 



£t£Ocles having received the kingdom of Thebes deprives his 
brother Poljnices of his share ; and he being exiled having arrived 
at Argos ii^arried the daughter of the king, Adrastut. And being am- 
bitious of returning to his country and having persuaded his father- 
in-law, be collected a soflBcient force against his brother and 
marched against Thebes. And his mother Jocasta persuaded him 
to come into the citj under a iruoe, and first to have a conferesce 
with his brother about the government. But as Eteodes acted 
with great haughtiness, in consequence of possessing the sovereign 
power, Jocasta indeed was unable to bring her children to friendlj 
terms ; and Poljnices retired from the city to draw^ up his armj 
as against an enemy. But Teiresias prophesied that those of the 
city would be victorious if Meuosceus the son of Creon should be 
offered as a sacrifice to Ares. Creon, however, refused to give up 
his son to the state ; but the young man desired it, and though his 
father gave him means of flight with money, he slew himself. 
And the Thebans slew the chieftains of the Argives. And 
Eteocles and Folynices killed each other in single combat. Their 
mother then having found her two sons dead, slew herself: and 
her brother Creon succeeded to the throne. And the Argives 
having been worsted in the battle retreated. And Creon, being 
very indignant, gave not up to burifd those of the enemy who had 
fallen under the wails of Thebes, and cast out Pcdynices without 

* This play was acted pro- * vapara^dfAtvoc* — irapa- 

bably 01. 91. 3. (b.c. 414), or raKofAevoc. P. The latter is 

between that date and 93. 3. so far more conformable to the 

(b^. 406.) — DiND. sense that it has been adopted. 


funeral rites, and banished (Edipus in exile from his country : in 
the latter instance not regarding the laws of men, and in the former, 
consulting his passion, and nut feeling compassion in proportion to 
the cfdamitj. 


When Europa had been carried off by Jove in the ibrm of a 
bull and had been carried over the sea from Phoenicia to Crete, 
her father Agenor sent his son Cadmus to seek for the damsel, 
bidding him, if he did not find her and bring her home, neither 
himself to return home any more. And Cadmus, not knowing 
how he should act, found but one solution of his difficulty, in be- 
taking himself to Apollo, and learning from him what he must da. 
Having arrived then at Delphi he inquired of the god concerning 
his sister. And he gives him indeed no response concerning 
Europa, but tells him to go forth thence, and having followed a 
cow to the spot where she should lie down, there also to found a 
city. And he obeying the oracle, gave up his return to his native 
country, and having by chance found a cow he made her the guide 
of his way. And when she bad come to the spot where Thebes 
now stands and there suddenly lay down, he both perceived that 
the oracle was accomplished, and there founds a city with seven 
gates, called Thebes,^ after the hundred gated Thebes in iEgypt ; 
employing Amphion the musician as one skilled in architecture and 
a cunning workman : for they say that he, by striking up a tune 
bewitched the stones with his melody, and by their placing them- 
selves one upon another, he produced the walls : and that the city 
has seven gates, because also the notes of his lyre were seven. 
And the mythical story is as above : but it has been invented by 

3 bfiutvvfiog seems to be used here for lirbivvfiog. 


reason of the walls having been made to harmonize accuratelj with 
one another ; for harmony is a property of masic. 

Cadmus then having married Harmonia the daughter of Aphro- 
dite and Mars, begat Foljdorus, and he Labdacus and he Laius. 
This man having gone on a time to £Iis, and having seen Chrysip- 
pus the son of Felops, (who was bom to him by another wife and 
not Hippodameia the daughter of ^nomaus) and being seized 
with a violent passion for him, carried him off by force to Thebes. 
And he had unnatural connexion with him, being the first among 
men to discover unnatural crime, just as Jove also among the 
gods, who carried off Ganymedes. And Felops having learned 
this invoked a curse upon Laius, that he might never beget a 
child ; or if ever it should so happen, that he might fall by his 
hand. For this reason Laius being now for a long time childless 
goes to the Fy thia and asks for a race of children. And he hears 
a response to this effect. 

*' Laius, thou son of Labdacus, thou askest for a prosperous race 
of children. Thou shalt indeed beget a dear son, but this shall 
be thy fate, to lose thy life by the hands of thine own child. For 
so hath Jove confirmed it, having consented to the hateful impre- 
cations of Felops whose dear son thou didst carry away ; and he 
invoked against thee all these curses." 

Which oracle Laius having as it were forgotten in desire for 
his wife Jocasta and his sensual gratification, or, as some say, 
being one day intoxicated with wine and having had intercourise 
with his wife, he begets CEdipus. And after his birth Laius, 
pondering over the oracle, and becoming alarmed, having bored a 
hole through his feet and fastened rings of gold through them, 
exposes him, by means of the herdsmen of his household, on 
mount Cithaeron j as being likely to be there devoured by wild 
beasts. But it happened at the same time that the herdsmen of 
Folybus king of Corinth were also feeding their cattle there : who 
also having found the infant and having taken it up bear it to 
Merope the wife of Folybus. For she suffered the misfortune of 
barrenness ; and by some means she persuades her husband that 
she was herself the mother of this infant. And when the child 
had grown to manhood, and had quarrelled with some one there, 
as indeed often happens, he was insulted by him with the assertion 
that he was not the son of Folybus. Wherefore he rose up and 


journejred to Apollo, to inquire concerning diis matter. And be 
learns that he is .to be the murderer of his father and that he will lie 
with his mother, this only : but who his parents might be be does 
not learn for certain. And on his way back from thence he met 
Lains, himself also joume3ring to Apollo to discover concerning 
the child who had been exposed, whether he was dead. And the 
attendant of La'ius bids him make way a little for the king. But 
(Edipus being possessed with haughtiness, and in no way putting 
up with this, slays both the attendant and widi him hit master, 
not knowing that he had become a parricide, and one only of the 
followers of Laius having escaped, who indeed afterwards dis- 
closed the murder, as Sophocles says in the (Edipus Tyrannus. 
Then therefore CEdipus having taken the horses of Lai'us and all 
be hady returns to Corinth, and giving all these things to Folybus 
in return for bringing him up, he goes forth from thence, fearing 
the oracle concerning his slaying his father and lying with his 
mother. Por he supposed that Folybus and his wife were his 
parents. And he arrives at Thebes ; which city was at that time 
vexed by the Sphinx, by her both chanting oracles and carrying 
off any one of the citizens she chose and destroying him, because 
they could not understand the oracles pronounced by her. But 
it was Mars who brought her upon the Thebans, avenging himself 
on them for the death of his offspring the dragon ; whom Cadmus 
slew, and sowed his teeth, from which sprung up the Giants. 
And the Sphinx was a monster having the face of a virgin but the 
breast and the paws and the feet and the claws of a lion, and the 
tail of a serpent, and the wings of a bird, with which she flew. 
And she happened at that time to have propounded to the Thebans 
a riddle to this effect, as Asclepiades records it; 

*^ There is a thing upon the earth having two feet, and four feet 
and three feet, whose voice is one. And it alone changes its form 
of all things that move, creeping upon the earth, or soaring in the 
air, or in the deep. But whenever it goes on the greater number 
of feet, then is there feebler vigour in its limbs." 

Which being uninterpreted, Creoa the brother of Jocasta the 
queen proclaimed by a herald that whoever could find out the riddle, 
to him would he unite his sister. And CEdipus, who, as we said, 
was living there at the time, having heard the proclamation, both 

augument of the drama. 7 

solves the riddle of the Sphinx and, without knowing it, takes his 
mother to wife. Bat he solved it thus, as they say ; 

Hearken, though reluctantly, Muse of the dead, bird of evil wing, 
hearken to my voice, the end of thy wickedness. Thou hast de- 
scribed man ; who when he crawls upon earth, is born at first four- 
footed, an infant from the womb; but when an old man, he leans 
upon a staff, a third foot, supporting his neck, being bowed down 
with old age. 

But the Sphinx having heard the solution straightway destroys 
herself, by letting herself fall from aloft in the air. And (Edipus 
having lived with his mother, and begotten four children on her, 
(male children, indeed, Eteocles and Polynices, and females, 
Antigone and Ismene), when he discovered afterwards his incest, 
blinded himself. And Eteocles and Polynices, wishing in some 
way to suppress the reproach, shut him up in a small chamber 
where, being seen by no one, he might pass into oblivion, as far 
as concerned that matter. And he being vehemently angered im- 
precates upon them a curse, that they may divide the kingdom 
with the sword. They then, fearing their father's imprecations, 
contrive a plan to this effect ; that they should hold the govern- 
ment one at a time, and that the one should give place to the 
other in it. Eteocles therefore, as being the first-born of the bro- 
thers, was the first to take possession of the throne, and Polynices 
retired : and when a year had been accomplished, he came to his 
brother, demanding that he also should reign for a year. But 
Eteocles both refused to resign his power, and sent his brother 
away with disgrace. And he in his wanderings came to Argos, 
and having taken to wife the daughter of the king Adrastus, he 
persuades his kinsman to take part with him in the recovery of his 
kingdom. And having received from him a very large army, he 
marches against his brother. And how their mother, who wished 
to reconcile her children before the engagement, could not pre- 
vail ; and how Teiresias prophesied that if Menceceus the son of 
Creon would slay himself over the dragon's den, the Thebans would 
be victorious over the Argives ; and how these things came to 
pass, and the chieftains of the Argives fell, all except Adrastus ; 
and how Eteocles and Polynices, fighting in single combat with 
one ano^er, were slain each by the other ; and bow Jocasta hav- 


ing come to them and found them dead slew herself with them ; 
and how Creon having ohtained the go.vemment huries indeed 
Eteodes, but allowed Foljnioes to remain unburied, and drove 
(Edipus forth from the city ; all these things Euripides narrates 
in detail in this play. And the present drama is one of the most 
select, abounding as it does in sentiments and maxims, numerous 
and elegant and diversified, and in the best possible handling, and 
throughout very excellent, even if it has an improbability in the 
entrance of Folynices into Thebes. And it has received the name 
of the ** Fhcenioian Women" of Euripides from the chorus, in 
contradistinction to the " Seven against Thebes" of JEschylus ; for 
he also makes use of this argument in the latter. But the virgins 
themselves the descendants of Agenor have sent from Fhcenioia 
as an offering to Apollo ; and they on their way to Delphi, put in 
at Thebes, by reason of Cadmus also, as we said above, being from 
Phoenicia. And the war having overtaken them there they were 
compelled to remain until the conflict should cease. 


Joe AST A. 

O THOU who cleavest a path through the stars of hea- 
ven, mounted aloft on a chariot iniaid with gold, whirl- 
ing onward the flame of day with thy swift coursers, O 
Sun! how ill-omened a heam didst thou shed upon 
Thebes on that day when Cadmus arrived at this land 
having left the maritime shore of Phoenicia ; he who 
formerly having married Harmonia daughter of the 
Cyprian goddess, begat Polydorus ; and from him they 
say that Labdacus was sprung, and from him Laius. 
And I indeed am called the daughter of Menoeceus, and 
my brother Creon was bom from the same mother ; but 
they name me Jocasta, for that name my father im- 
posed upon me ; and Lains was my husband. Bui 
since he was childless, though for a long time having 
my bed in his house, he goes to enquire of Phoebus, and 
at the same time prays for a father's share with me in 
the offspring of male children for bis house. But he 
answered, " O king of Thebes rejoicing in horses, sow 
not seed into a childbearing furrow in despite of the gods. 

10 PHGENISS^. [19 — 49. 

For if thou shalt beget a sod, he who is born shall slay 
thee, and thy whole house shall perish in bloodshed." 
But he, giving himself up to pleasure and having become 
drunken, begat a child to me : and having begotten the 
infant, remembering his fault and the warning of the 
god, he gives the babe to his herdsmen to expose on the 
pastures of Hera, and the bare crag of Cithseron, having 
passed spikes of iron through the middle of his ankles, 
whence Hellas gave him the name of (Edipus. But the 
feeders of the horses and oxen of Poly bus having taken 
him convey him home and placed him in the hands of 
their mistress. And she suckles at the breast the child 
of my throes, and persuades her husband that she was 
the mother. But when he was now arriving at man- 
hood, with ruddy cheeks, my son either having disco- 
vered what had happened or having learned it from some 
one, set forth, wishing to learn who were his parents, to 
the temple of Phoebus : as also did my husband Laius, 
seeking to know concerning the child who had been 
e3q)osed, whether he was no longer living. And they 
twain met on the same spot, where the Phocian road 
divides ; and the charioteer of Laius commands him, " O 
stranger, stand out of the way of princes ;** but he went 
on without a word, being very proud. And the horses 
wounded the insteps of his feet with their hoofs. After 
which, why need I tell what are beside my woes ? The 
son slays the father, and having taken his chariot gives 
them to Polybus who brought him up. And when the 
Sphynx was weighing down our city by her ravages, 
and my husband no longer lived, my brother Creon pro- 
claims my bed publicly, that he will join me in marriage 
to him, whoever should interpret the riddle of the cun- 
ning virgin. And somehow my son (Edipus chances 

51 — 77.] PHCENISSJE. 11 

to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, ^ wherefore he is ap- 
pointed ruler of this country, and receives the sceptre of 
this land as his prize. And he marries her who brought 
him forth, the wretched man, not knowing it, neither 
himself nor his mother, that she was lying with her 
son. And I bear children to my child, two indeed sons, 
Eteocles and the renowned mighty Polyneices, and two 
daughters; the one indeed her father named Ismene, 
but the elder I called Antigone. And GSdipus,* he 
who has endured all woes, having discovered the bed he 
shared with me, of incestuous intercourse, inflicts a fear- 
ful deed of blood on his own eyes, by mangling the 
pupils with gold- wrought T>uckles. But when my chil- 
dren's cheeks grew dark with the beard, they concealed 
their father vdth bolted doors, that the mischance might 
fade from men s memory, a mischance that stood in need 
of many an artifice. And he is still living within the 
palace, but, frenzied with his misfortune, he invokes 
most unholy curses upon his children, that with the 
sharp sword they may divide the inheritance of this 
house. And they twain, becoming alarmed lest the 
gods should cause these prayers to be accomplished if 
they dwelt together, having come to terms agreed that 
Polyneices, the younger, should first go into voluntary 
exile from this country, and that Eteocles remaining 
behind should hold the sceptre of the land for a year, 
giving it up in his turn. But now that he is settled on 
the seat of 'government,^ he drives away Polyneices in 
exile from this land. And he having gone to Argos, 
having contracted with Adrastus an alliance by mar- 

* 51. om. P. * two bodies together, cross- 

^ 60. cm. P. beam ; hence teat, 

' 74. Kvybv, that which joins 


12 PHCENISSJE. [78—103. 

riage, having drawn together many a shield of Argive 
warriors, leads them on ; and having marched up even 
to these seven gated walls, he demands back the sceptre 
of his fathers, and his share of the land. But I, in 
order * to appease their strife, have persuaded one son 
to come in to the other, under a truce, before they lay 
hold on the spear. And the messenger who was sent, 
says that he will come. But O thou who inhabitest the 
glittering cloudclefts of heaven, O Jove ! save us, and 
grant a reconciliation between my sons. For thou 
oughtest, if thou art wise, not to suffer the same among 
mortals always to be unfortunate. 


O Antigone, renowned branch of the house of thy 
father, since thy mother hath permitted thee to leave the 
maiden's apartments as far as to the topmost chamber of 
the palace, that thou mayest see the Argive host at thy 
entreaty, stay, that I may first explore the road.* Can 
there be any one of the citizens in the way ? lest evil 
reproach should fall upon me as a slave, and upon thee 
as a princess. But I will tell thee all, for I know it, 
both what I saw and heard from the Argives, when 
bearing a truce to thy brother I went thither hence, and 
back again here from him. But no one of the citizens 
comes near this palace; pass forth from the ancient 
stairs of cedar-wood with your foot ; and view the 
plains, and by the streams of Ismenus and the fountains 
of Dirce, how great is the host of the enemy. 


Stretch forth, then, stretch forth thine aged hand to 

* 81. \vov(t\ p. • rtQ IT. (pavraZv'^^ ) ^^^ altera 

^ 93-4. Duae consttuctiones continuatur verbis Kafioi ftkv 

in unam conflatSB sunt; firi t\9y» — Mattii. 

(num) ruQ tt. ^avrdl^iTai et ftri 

103—132.] PH(ENISSiE. 13 

my youthful one, from the stairs, raising up the step of 
my foot. 

Fjed. Here, grasp it, damsel, and thou hast arrived 
at the proper moment ; for the Pelasgian host is just 
now in motion, and they are separating their companies 
from one another. 

Ant. O Hecate, awful daughter of Latona ! the whole 
plain gleams, as of brass. 

P^D. Aye, for with no mean force hath Poljnieices 
come against the land ; but clattering with many horses, 
indeed, and with innumerable arms. 

Ant. Can it be that the gates are closely secured with 
bars, and the brass-bound fastenings of the wall with 
the stone- wrought engines of Amphion ? 

PiBD. Be of good courage ; as regards its interior at 
least the city is secure. But look upon the foremost 
warrior, if thou desirest to know his name. 

Ant. Who is this with the snowy plume, who in 
front of a host of men leads the way, brandishing a bra- 
zen shield upon his arm. 

Fjed. a captain of a company, O lady. 

Ant. Who he is, from whom descended, tell me, old 
man, what he is named. 

Fmd. This man is called by race a Myceneean, and 
he dwells by the w^aters of Lem^ ; king Hippomedon. 

Ant. Oh, oh, how haughty, how terrible to look 
upon, like unto an earth-born giant, starlike in the 
engraving of his shield, and not resembling the race of 
short-lived mortals. 

Pjsd. Seest thou not this captain who is passing by 
the waters of Dirce ? 

Ant. .a different, a different fashion of armour is this : 
who then is this ? 

14 PHGENISS^ Ql33 — 159. 

P^D. This is Tydeus, the son indeed of CEneus ; but 
he hath ^iolian Mars within his breast. 

Ant. Is this the husband of the bride, old man, her- 
self the sister of Polyneices ? How foreign-looking in 
his arms, half barbarian ! 

P^D. Aye, for all the -^tolians are wielders of the 
buckler, my child, and with javelins are most expert 

Ant. But thou, old man, how dost thou perceive 
these things so clearly ? 

PiBD. Having seen the devices on their shields I then 
examined them when I went to bear terms of truce to 
thy brother ; and having observed them, I know those 
clad in the armour. 

Ant. But who is this who is passing near the monu- 
ment of Zethus, with long ringlets, stem of eye, a youth 
to look upon ? He is a captain ; ^ for a multitude in full 
armour is following behind him. 

P^D. This is Parthenopseus, the son of Atalante. 

Ant. But may Artemis who ranges the mountains 
with his mother, with her darts quell and slay him, who 
hath come against my city to destroy it ! 

P^D. May it be so, my child. But vdth justice have 
they come against the land ; wherefore also I fear, lest 
the gods look upon it impartially. 

Ant. But where is he who was bom from the same 
mother as myself, with a fate of many woes ? O dearest 
old man, tell me, where is Polyneices ? 

Fmd. He stands by the side of Adrastus near the 

^ 148. UA. XoxayoQ, AN. to Dind. the punctuation should 

wQ ox^og K, r.X. P.— P^d, He be, vtaviaQt Xox«y^C ; Who is 

is a captain. — Ant. How a this captain, etc.? How a 

crowd, etc. ! But according crowd, etc. ! 

160—192.] PHiENiss^. 15 

tomb of the seven virgin daughters of Niobe. Seest 

Ant. I see in sooth not clearly, but in a manner I see 
the outline of his figure and the semblance of his bust. 
Oh that with my feet I might accomplish the course of 
a cloud swift as the wind, through the ether, to mine 
own brother ! and fling mine arms about the beloved 
neck of him for so long a wretched exile ! How con- 
spicuous he is in his golden armour, old man, blazing 
like the eastern beams of the sun ? 

Pjsd. He is coming to this palace, so as to fill thee 
with joy, under a truce. 

Ant. But this one, old man, who is this^ who is 
driving a chariot of white steeds, mounted aloft ? 

P^D. This, O lady, is the prophet Amphiaraus : vic- 
tims accompany him, libations'' for blood-loving earth. 

Ant. O Moon, daughter of the bright-girdled sun, 
thou golden orb of light, how calmly and prudently he 
is directing his car, applying the goad to each steed in 
turn ! But where is he who utters such fearful insolence 
against this city, Capaneus ? 

Fmd. There he is, calculating the approaches to the 
towers, measuring the walls from top to bottom. 

Ant, O Nemesis, and deep-rolling thunders of Jove, 
and thou scorching fire of lightning, mayest thou, in sooth, 
lay in the sleep of death overweening pride ! This is 
he, who will give Theban women, captive by the spear, 
to Mycenee and to the Lerneean trident, the waters of 
Poseidon Amymon, having involved them in slavery. 
Never, never, O awful goddess, O Artemis, scion of 
Jove, with golden ringlets, may I endure this slavery. 

7 174. poai. P. "streams." 
tc 3 

16 PHCENissiE. [193—226. 

PiED. O my child, enter the palace, and remain under 
the roof^ within thy maiden apartments, since thou hast 
arrived at the gratification of thy desire of those things 
which thou didst desire to behold. For a crowd of 
women is advancing to the royal abode, since confusion 
has come into the city. But a censorious thing is the 
female sex, and if they get but small occasions for talk- 
ing, they introduce more in addition ; and it is a sort of 
pleasure for women to say no one wholesome word of 
one another. 


From the Tyrian wave have I come, first-fruits for 
Loxias, from the Phoenician^ island, a slave of the tem- 
ple of Phoebus ; that beneath the snow-beaten crags of 
Parnassus I might make my dwelling; 9 having voyaged 
with the oar through the sea that ^ washes Ionia, since, 
over the sterile expanse that washes the shores of Sicily 
around, Zephyr rode on the gale, the softest murmur in 
the heavens ; chosen forth from out of my city, as fairest 
gifts to Loxias. And I have come to the land of the 
Cadmeans, the renowned race of Agenor, having been 
conducted hither to the kindred towers of Laius. But 
like unto golden-wrought statues, I have become a ser- 
vant to Phoebus. But still the water of Castalia awaits 
me, to * moisten my locks, an ornament to virgins in the 
service of Phoebus. O thou rock that lightest up the 
twin-peaked brilliancy of fire over the heights of Bac- 

8 204. *. vaooQ, sc. Tyre. sic dictum sed qiiod loniam 

* 207. KaTEvdo^f}, typotbetae allueret. — Valck. 

errore legitur pro KarevdffOpv, * 224. irapQkviov •xkMv. — 

'iva KarsvdffSrriv, * ut habitci- pro '6 (sc. rb dsvffai Kd^ao) 

rem.* — Dind. iragOkviOQ "x^ttii lori. — 

* 208. *l6viov Kara ttovtov. Matth. 
Per Ionium mare non proprie 

227-- 270.] PHCENiss^" 17 

cbus, and thou vine of Dionysus, who lettest fall day 
by day the fruitful cluster of the vine stock, putting 
it forth ; and ye, divine caves of the serpent, and 
mountain watchtowers of the gods, and thou, sacred 
snow-beaten mountain. Oh that, wheeling the dance, 
I might become a chorus to the immortal goddess, free 
from alarms, by the dells sacred to Phoebus, in the 
centre of earth, having forsaken Dirce ! But now, I 
ween, impetuous Mars having advanced before the 
walls is kindling hostile slaughter against this city, — 
but may it never come to pass ! For the woes of 
friends are in common : and if any thing shall happen 
to this land of the seven towers, 'twill be shared by 
the country of Phoenicia. Alas, alas ! common is our 
blood, of common lineage were born the children of 
horn-bearing lo : and in their woes I have a part. But 
around the city a thick cloud of shields is gleaming, the 
array of bloody conflict, a conflict which Mars speedily 
will experience, who brings upon the sons of CEdipus 
the woe of avenging Furies. O Pelasgian Argos, I 
fear thy might and the power of the gods ; for no unjust 
contest is this into which thou art rushing in arms, and 
which is visiting this house. 

Pol. The bars indeed of the gate-wardens admitted 
me readily, to come within the walls. For which very 
reason I fear lest having caught me within their toils, 
they will not let my person out unstained with blood. 
Wherefore I must turn my eyes in every direction, both 
to this side and that, lest there be some treachery. But 
as I have my hand armed with this sword, I will give 
myself the confidence of courage. Ha ! Who is that ? 
Or is it merely a noise I fear ? For every thing appears 
formidable to those who daKQ^dajigerou^ deeds, when the 

18 raoENissiE. [271—299. 

foot is passing through a hostile land. However, I put 
trust in my mother, and at the same time I trust her 
not, she who has persuaded me to come hither under 
truce. But succour is at hand ; for the hearths of altars 
are near and the house is not deserted. Come, let me 
put away my sword into the darkness of its sheath, and 
enquire of these damsels, who they are that stand near 
the palace. Ye stranger women, tell me from what 
country ye draw near to Grecian abodes ? 

Chorus. Phoenicia indeed is my native land that 
reared me ; but the descendants of the sons of Agenor 
sent me hither for Phoebus, as fifstfruits of the spear. 
^And the renowned son of CEdipus being about to con- 
duct me to the awful abode of the oracle, and the hearth 
of Loxias, in the meanwhile the Ajrgives marched against 
the city. But do thou answer me in turn, who art thou 
who hast come to the seven gated fortress of the land 
of Thebes ? 

Pol. My father indeed was CEdipus the son of 
Laius; and Jocasta was my mother, the daughter of 
Menoeceus : and the Theban people call me Poljueices. 

Chorus. kinsman of the sons of Agenor, kinsman 
of my princes, by whom I was sent hither, on bended 
knee I fall down before thee, O king, observing the 
custom of my home. Oh, after long time thou hast« 
come to the land of thy fathers ! Ho ! lady, come 
forth with hasty step, throw wide the gates ! O mother 
that didst bear this man, why delayest thou to pass 

* 283. Oratio est draic6- wl/iTr. fie Old, k\, yovog may 

\ov9oCt pro ftkWwv 6k irkfiir' be taken as a nominative abso- 

/!£ Oi^. icX. yor., licwXuOij ry lute. 

ToiiQ *Apytiovg iinaTpaTivaai, * 295. ifiaQ twice. P. 
— Matth. Or, /icXXoiv 6k 

300 — 334.] PHCENissiE. 19 

forth from the lofty halls, and to embrace thy child in 
thine arms ? 


damsels, hearing within this palace a Phoenician 
cry, I drag along the steps of my feet, tremulous with 
old age. O my child, after long time, in the space 
of innumerable days, have I beheld thy face. Cast 
thy breast into the arms of thy mother, and put forth 
thy cheeks, and the dark locks of the ringlets of thy 
hair, overshadowing my neck with them. Oh, oh ! thou 
who hast with difficulty, unexpectedly, unlocked for, 
appeared to the arms of thy mother, what must I say 
to thee ? How encircling thy whole'body both on this 
side and that, may I obtain both with hands and words 
a varied pleasure, the gratification of ancient joys? O 
my child, my child, thou hast left the house of thy 
fathers desolate, having been driven forth an outcast by 
thine own brothers wrong, assuredly regretted by thy 
friends, assuredly regretted by Thebes ! From ^ which 
time I at least am shorn of my white locks in token of 
mourning, neglecting them with weeping ; and stripped 
of white robes, my child, I exchange them for these 
dark rags of ill-omened blackness, ^ casting them around 
me. But he in the palace, the old man bereft of sight, 
possessing ever a tearful regret for the kindred pair that 
has been unyoked from his house, at one time is for 
rushing upon suicidal death by the sword, or ascending 
above the chambers attempts to hang himself,^ groaning 

* 322. Locus videtur cor- se est pro d/jt^iPaXKovaa* — 
ruptus. P. Matth. 

323. daKpvdeffffav 'Ulaa, * 333. vTrhp rspsfivd r* 

P. dyxovag, Superascendens lec- 

* 325. &fi(pi non jungen- ta (ubi semotus esset ab arbitris) 
dum cum ^/i6i/3o/iat, sed per ruit in laqueos. — Valck, 

20 PHCEa*iss^ [335 — 365. 

forth curses against his children; and at others ever 
with the wailings of lamentations he conceals himself in 
darkness.^ But of thee, my child, I hear in sooth 
that thou united in a foreign marriage hast in thy house 
the pleasure of hegetting children, and that thou hast 
made a foreign alliance, woes never to be forgotten by 
thy mother here and Laius, him of old, the disgrace of 
alien wedlock. But neither did I kindle for thee the 
light of fire, which is customary at marriages, as becomes 
a happy mother; nor was Ismenus celebrated by the 
nuptial rite of drawing water; but throughout the city 
of the Thebans the bringing home of thy bride was 
passed over in silehceJ May he perish who hath done 
these things, whether the sword or strife or thy father 
be the cause, or whether the god hath burst in upon the 
house of (Edipus ; for against me the woe of these evils 
has come. 

Chorus. A strange influence on women have the chil- 
dren bom from their pangs, and the whole female sex is, 
somehow, attached to its oflspring. 

Pol. My mother, wisely and yet not wisely have I 
come among my enemies ; but it is compulsory on all 
to desire their native land ; and he who says otherwise, 
rejoiceth indeed in words, but hath his mind there. 
And so I entertained some fear and alarm lest some 
treachery on the part of my brother should kill me, and 
so, with my hand armed with a sword I passed through 
the city, casting my glances around. But one thing is 
my succour, the truce and thy good faith, which 
brought me Qhou who didst bring me P.] within the 

^ 335. ffKOTi^, P. ampliorem descriptionem posuit 

^ 350. oXoiro rdd\ Debe- kire—0idiir6da.—DivD, 
bat addi 6 dpdffaif pro quo 

366—389.] PHCENiss^. 21 

walls of my fathers ; and I arrived with many tears, at 
beholding after so long a time the temples and altars of 
the gods, and the gymnastic schools in which I was 
educated, and the waters of Dirce ; from which unjustly 
banished I inhabit a foreign city, having a fount of tears 
streaming from my eyes. But after my griefs I behold 
again another grief in thee, with thy head shaven with 
the razor and in dark vestments ; woe is me for my 
miseries ! How fearful a thing, O my mother, is en- 
mity between friends of the same house, and how Mif- 
ficult are the reconciliations it admits of ! But what 
does my aged father, within the house, whose light is 
darkness ? and what my two sisters ? They groan, I 
ween, for my wretched exile. 

Joe. Some one of the gods is bringing the race of (Edipus 
to utter destruction ; for with this did he commence it, 
that I indeed should become a mother in disobedience to 
the law, and then that thy sire should contract an accursed 
marriage, and that thou shouldest be bom. But what 
is all this? "We must bear the decrees of the gods. 
But I am afraid of asking thee the questions I desire to 
know, lest I vex thy soul : but with a longing desire 
have I come. 

Pol. Well, ask on, leave nothing deficient ; for what 
thou desirest, my mother, those things are pleasant to 
me also. 

Joe. Well then I ask thee first of the things I desire 
to know. What is it to be deprived of one's native 
land ? A great evil, is it not ? 

Pol. The greatest ; and in fact more than in words. 

®376. Sv&kvTovg. (i7r6povc 'rpic to Xvhv (rrjv 
txopav sc.) 

22 PHOENissiE. [390 — 405, 

. Joe. What fashion of life is it? What is the hard- 
ship to exiles ? 

Pol. One of the greatest is, the exile has not freedom 
of speech. 

Jog. This that thou hast said is the lot of a slave, 
not to express wl^t one feels. 

Pol. He must bear the follies of those in power. 

Joe. And this tbo is grievous, to be a fool with the 

Pol. Moreover, for gain he must play the slave, con- 
trary to his nature. 

Joe. But their hopes feed exiles, as they say. 

Pol. Aye, they look on them with gracious eyes, 
but they are slow in coming. 

Joe. But does not time show them to be vain ? 

Pol. They have a sort of pleasure that sweetens 

Joe. But on what means didst thou live, before find- 
ing support by thy marriage ? 

Pol. Sometimes I had sufficient for the day, and at 
other times I might have nothing. 

Joe. But did not thy father's friends and allies assist 
thee ? 

Pol. 9Be prosperous, — but the assistance of friends is 
nothing, if one is in adversity. 

Joe. But did not even thy noble birth exalt thee to 
high station? 

Pol. *T is an evil thing to have nothing ; my birth 
fed me not. 

• 403. £v irpdffffe, Interpre- stat particula 5'. The sense is, 

tatur/iij^a/iwc Valckenaeriuset Be prosperous^ — and you may 

comparat cum ^ri\u} <Tif Med. expect assistance: oonf. Luke 

60 EVTVxoiric, ovaio, Sed ob- ziii. 9. 

406 — 424.] PH(ENissiE. 23 

Jog. Their native land, as it seems, is a thing most 
■dear to mortals. 

Pol. Thou couldst not even express by words how 
dear it is. 

Joe. But how earnest thou to Argos ? What inten- 
tion hadst thou ? 

Pol. Loxias delivered a certain oracle to Adrastus. 

Joe. What oracle ? What is this thou hast said ? I 
have not heard it. 

Pol. That he should unite his daughters in marriage 
to a wild boar and a lion. 

Joe. And what hadst thou to do with the names of 
wild beasts, my son ? 

Pol. I know not. The deity summoned me to the 

Joe. Yea, for the God is wise. But in what way 
didst thou gain the marriage ? 

Pol. It was night, and I went to the portico of 

Joe. Seeking a resting-place, like a wandering exile ? 

Pol. Even so ; and then in sooth there came another 
exile, again. 

Joe. Who was he ? how wretched then must he also 
have been ! 

Pol. Tydeus, who, they say, is sprung from CEneus, 
for his father. 

Joe. In what respect then did Adrastus liken you to 
wild beasts ? 

Pol. Because we proceeded to fight for our lairs. 

Joe. Then the son of Talaus understood the oracles ? 

Pol. And gave to us twain the two damsels. 

Joe. Art thou happy then in thy marriage, or unfor- 
tunate ? 

24 PHCENlssiE. J[4}25 — 450. 

Pol. My marriage, up to the present time, is not to 
be found fault with. 

Joe. But how didst thou persuade an army to follow 
thee hither ? 

Pol. Adrastus sware this oath to his two sons-in-law, 
*both Tydeus and myself — for he is connected with me 
by marriage — that he would restore both of us to our 
country, but me first. And many valiant men of the 
Argives and Myceneeans are with me, showing me a 
favour that is grievous to me, but necessary ; for I am 
marching against mine own city. But I have sworn 
by the gods how unwillingly I have raised the spear 
against my loved parents. But the cessation of these 
evils extends itself to thee, my mother, that thou, by 
reconciling friends who are of the same blood, cause me 
and thyself and the whole city to rest from calamities. 
'Tis an old song indeed, but nevertheless I will repeat 
it : wealth among men is most valued, and has the 
greatest power of all things among mortals. And this 
is what I have come for, leading hither innumerable 
spears ; for a poor nobleman is nobody. 

Chorus. And lo, Eteocles advances hither to a 
friendly conference ; 'tis thy part Jocasta, his mother, 
to speak such words as with which thou wilt reconcile 
thy children. 


Mother, I am here. And giving thee this gratification, 
I have come. What are we to do? Let some one 
begin the conference : for I have stayed from marshal- 
ling the city about the walls and the chariots of the 
troops, that I might hear from thee thy common arbitre- 

'428. om. P.» 

451 — 481.] PHCENisaE. 25 

ment, for which thou ha^t admitted this man under 
truce, within the walls, having persuaded me. 

Jog. Hold ! in sooth haste brings not with it justice ; 
but deliberate arguments produce the greatest amount 
of wisdom. But repress thy stem look and the heav- 
ings of thy rage ; for thou art not looking on the severed 
head of the gorgon, but upon thy brother, who has 
arrived. And do thou again turn thy face towards thy 
brother, Polyneices ; for letting your eyes meet, thou 
wilt both speak better thyself, and better receive this 
man's words. But I desire to impart to you both sage 
advice: when a friend, being incensed with a friend, 
after meeting him looks him in the face, those matters 
alone he ought to consider concerning i/j^hich he has 
come, and to have no remembrance of any former evil. 
'Tis thy part then to speak first, my son Polyneices ; 
for thou hast come leading an army of the sons of 
Danaus, having suffered injury, as thou allegest ; but 
may some one of the gods be a judge and a reconciler of 

Pol. Simple is the speech of truth, and justice stands 
not in need of subtle explanations ; for it has its due 
weight of itself; but the argument of injustice having 
disease within itself requires skilful drugs. Now I first 
regarded the interests of my father's house, considering 
both my advantage and this man s, wishing to escape the 
curses which CEdipus formerly pronounced against us, 
I myself voluntarily retired from this land ; having per- 
mitted him to rule over the country for a revolving year, 
on condition that I again should have the sovereignty, 
receiving it in turn ; and not that, becoming at enmity 
and bloody feud with this man, I should do and suffer 
some evil, as is the case. And he having assented to 

26 PHCENiss^. [481 — 509^ 

these things, and having called the gods to witness his 
oath, has done nothing of what he promised, but keep» 
the sovereignty himself, and my share of the palace. 
Now I am ready, when I have received mine ovm, to 
convey the army out of this land and to dwell in mine 
own house, receiving it by turn, and again to resign it 
to this man for an equal time» and neither to ravage my 
country, nor apply to its towers the approaches by 
jointed scaling-ladders ; which things, if I receive not 
my right, I will try to do. And I call the gods to wit- 
ness these things, how acting in every way with justice 
I am deprived without justice of my native land most 
impiously. These several particulars, my mother, I 
have stated^ without stringing together the intricacies of 
arguments, but only what is just to the wise and the 
foolish, in my opinion. 

Chor. To me indeed, even although I was not reared 
on Grecian land, nevertheless thou seemest to speak 
words of good sense. 

Eteo. If to all the same thing was naturally good 
and wise at the same time, there would never have 
been ambiguous strife among men ; but as it is, nothing 
appears either alike or in the same degree, to mortals, 
save only in calling things * by the same name, but this 
is by no means their substance. For I, my mother, will 
speak out concealing nothing : I would have gone to the 
rising of the stars of heaven and beneath the earth, if 
able to effect this, to hold the mightiest dominion of the- 
gods. This advantage, therefore, my mother, I do not 
wish to give up to another rather than to keep it for 
myself. For 'tis cowardice in him, whoever possessing 

' 502. hv6na<Jiv» P. " except in their names" — 

510—534.] , PH(ENiss-E. 27 

the more, takes up with the less. And besides this, I 
am ashamed that this man who has come in arms and is 
ravaging the land should obtain what he desires ; for to 
Thebes this would become a reproach, if from fear of the 
spear of Mycenee I were to surrender my sceptre for this 
man to hold. And he ought to have attempted the 
reconciliation not in arms ; for ^ argument is capable of 
compelling all that the sword of the enemy might effect. 
But if he is willing to dwell in the land on other terms, 
it is permitted him ; but I will not willingly give up 
that, when it is in my power to rule, that I should ever 
be this man's slave. Wherefore let fire come, and let 
swords come, yoke ye your steeds, fill the plains with 
chariots, since I will not resign to this man my dominion. 
For since we must act unjustly, 'tis most honourable to 
be unjust for the sake of empire, but in all other matters 
we must act righteously. 

Chor. One ought not to speak fair words, * except 
his deeds be fair also : for this is not fair, but bitter in 
the sight of justice. 

Joe. my son Eteocles, not every evil is imposed 
upon old age, but its experience is able to show forth 
somewhat that is wiser than the young can show. Why 
desirest thou Ambition, my son, the most pernicious of 
deities ? Do not thou at least so ; the goddess is unjust ; 
and into many happy homes and cities hath she entered 
and gone out again to the destruction of her entertain- 

'516. UaipH — P. ''gains" — * 526. fi^* xt ToXg Ipy icaX* 

516. Recte Cruserius in Plut. pro Iwi Ipydtf /ii) KoXoXe dic- 

vertit ** omne id ezpugnare turn putat MatthiaB. (t. e, on 

verba compta ferrum quod mi- unfair actions.) — But Scbole- 

naz possit." et quod proprie de field would give a possessive 

ferro dici poterat, ad orationem, force to the Art. {toiq), as if it 

quse similem vim habet» com- were, ti rd ipya (roi) fci) KdKa 

mode transfertur.^-MATTH. lerri. — 

tD 3 

28 PHCENissiE. [^535 — 562^ 

ers : and upon her tliou art mad. This is better, my 
son, to honour equality, which binds together Mends 
with friends and cities with cities and allies with allies. 
For that which is equal is by nature rightful among 
men, but the less ever stands up at war with the greater, 
and commences a day of enmity. For equality also 
hath established measures among mortals and divisions 
of weights, and hath defined the laws of numbers, and 
equally the dim eye of night and the light of the sun 
traverse their yearly revolution, and neither of them is 
envious, from being surpassed. Are the sun then and the 
night slaves to mortals, and wilt not thou endure to have 
an equal share of the palace, and wilt not give to this 
man his? And if so where is justice ? Why honourest 
thou so exceedingly absolute power, that is a prosperous 
injustice, and deemest this a great ^ thing, to be gazed 
upon in reverence ? Nay, but 'tis vanity. Or wishest 
thou to experience many labours having much wealth in 
thy house ? But what is the having more than another ? 
It has but a name ; for that which is sufficient is enough 
at least to the wise. In no wise in sooth do mortsds 
possess their wealth as their own, but holding what be- 
longs to the gods, we are their stewards; and when they 
desire it, they take it back again ; ^ for prosperity is not 
stable, but lasts only for a day. Come, if I ask thee 
the question, proposing at once the alternative of two 
things; whether wishest thou to reign or to save the 
city ? Wilt thou say, to reign ? But if this man con- 
quer thee, and the swords of Argos vanquish the spear 

* 550. v^cp0£v, Kai ftly' great thing? Or is it an honour- 

rjyrjffai; to dk wepipXkwta^at. able thing to be gazed upoQl 

Tifiiov; P. (i. e. Why honour- etc. — 

est thou etc. and deemest it a ^ 558. om. P. 

563—590.] PHCENissjE. 29 


of the Cadmeans, thou wilt behold this citadel of the 
Thebans subdued, and thou wilt behold many captive 
damsels forcibly ravished by hostile warriors. Agoniz- 
ing, then, will that wealth, which thou seekest to keep, 
prove to Thebes, and ambitious wilt thou be found. To 
thee indeed I speak this ; but to thee, Polyneices, I say, 
Adrastus hath conferred on thee foolish benefits; and 
foolishly also hast thou come to sack the city. Come, 
if thou conquer this land, (which may it never come to 
pass) in the name of the gods how then wilt thou set up 
the trophies of thy spear ? And how again wilt thou 
commence sacrifices, having conquered thy fatherland, 
and how wilt thou inscribe on spoils by the streams of 
Inachus " Polyneices having consiimed Thebes with fire 
offered up these shields to the gods?" Never, O my 
child, may it be thine to acquire such renown as this 
from Greeks. But if on the other hand thou art over- 
come, and this man's fortune surpass thine, how wilt 
thou return to Argos, having left behind innumerable 
corpses ? And, in sooth, some one will say, " O Adras- 
tus, thou who hast contracted evil espousals, through 
the marriage of one bride we are destroyed." Thou 
hurriest on two evils, my son, the being deprived of 
those, and falling in the midst of these. Relinquish, 
both of you, that which is excessive, relinquish it ; the 
folly of two men, when they both meet at the same 
point, is a most foul evil. 

Chor. O ye gods, may ye be averters of these woes, 
and grant ye lome means of reconciliation to the sons of 
(Edipus ! 

Eteo. Mother, it is no longer a time for words, but 
the intervening time has been expended in vain, and thy 
zeal brings nothing to any conclusion ; for I will never 

30 PHCENissjE. [^591 — 606. 


agree otherwise than upon the terms I have stated, that 
I, wielding the sceptre, shall he king of this land. Bat 
ceasing from thy lengthy exhortations, let me go. And 
thou, convey thyself without these walls or thou shalt 

Pol. By whose hand ? Who is so invulnerable as, 
having aimed a blood-thirsty sword against me, not to 
endure the same fate ? 

Eteo. Near thee, not gone far from thee; lookest 
thou upon my hands ? 

Pol. I look upon them ; but a cowardly and a das- 
tardly evil is wealth. 

Eteo. And is it therefore thou hast come with so 
many against one who is nothing in battle ? 

Pol. Aye, for a safe general is better than a rash 

Eteo. Thou boastest, trusting in the truce which 
saves thee from death. 

Pol. And of thee a second time I demand the sceptre 
and my share of the land. 

Eteo. I am not prevailed upon by thy demand ; for 
I will rule mine own house. 

Pol. Having more than thy share ? 

Eteo. I confess it. But begone from the land. 

Pol. O ye altars of the gods of my fathers — 

Eteo. Whom thou art here to destroy. 7 

Pol. Hear ye me ! 

Eteo. And who would hear thee who hast marched 
against thy country? 

Pol. ®And ye, temples of the gods with white steeds- — 

Eteo. Who abominate thee. 

^ 604. irapei ; P. Amphion and Zethus. cf. Here. 

• 606. \et)K6ir<a\oi 0£of.— F. v. 29. Dind. 

607— OlSi] PHOENISS-E. 31 

Pol. I am driven forth from my native land — 

Eteo. Aye, for thou hast come to drive them out. 

Pol. With injustice, at least, O ye gods ! 

Eteo. At Mycenae, not here, invoke the gods. 

Pol. Thou art impious — 

Eteo. But not an enemy of my country, as thou 

Pol. Thou who drivest me forth robbed of my por- 

Eteo. Aye, and I will slay thee, moreover. 

Pol. my father, hearest thou what I am suffering ? 

Eteo. Aye, and he hears what deeds thou art doing. 

Pol. And thou, my mother ? 

Eteo. It is not lawful for thee to name the name of 

Pol. my country ! 

Eteo. Get thee to Argos, and invoke the waters of 

Pol. I will go, trouble not thyself; but thee I praise, 
my mother. 

Eteo. Get forth from the land. 

Pol. I will go forth : but grant me to look upon my 

Eteo. Thou shalt not obtain it. 

Pol. But my virgin sisters — 

Eteo. Not even them shalt thou ever see more. 

Pol. O my sisters ! 

Eteo. Why callest thou on them, being their greatest 

Pol. O my mother, farewell thmi ! 

Joe. Aye, in sooth, I experience 9 welfare, my child. 

• 618, TBKvov ; P. — Do I, in sooth, etc. ? 

32 PHCENissiE. [619—637. 

Pol. I am no longer thy son. 

Joe. In many respects I was bom to be wretched. 

Pol. Aye, for this man insults over us. 

Eteo, Yes, for I am insulted in return. 

Pol. Where ever wilt thou stand before the towers ? 

Eteo. For what cause inquirest thou this of me ? 

Pol. I will take my station against thee, to slay 

Eteo. A desire of this possesses me also. 

Joe. wretched me ! what are ye about to do, O my 
children ? 

Pol. The deed itself will show. 

Joe, "Will ye not avoid the furies of your father ? 

Eteo. Let his whole house utterly come to nought ! 

Pol. Verily, soon my murderous sword shall no 
longer be idle. But I call to witness the land that 
nurtured me, and the gods, how, in dishonour, suffering 
pitiable wrongs, I am driven forth from the land, like a 
slave, and not like one bom from the same father, CEdi- 
pus. And should anything befall thee, my country, 
blame not me, but this man ; for not willingly have I 
come, but unwillingly I am expelled from the land. 
And thou, king Phoebus, guardian of streets, and ye 
halls, fare ye well, and ye my comrades, and ye statues 
of gods rich in the sacrifice of sheep ! For I know not 
whether it is granted me to address you ever again : but 
my hopes slumber not yet, in which I tmst, by the help 
of the gods, that having slain this man I shall rule over 
this land of Thebes. 

Eteo. Begone from the land. And with truth did 
thy father impose on thee, by divine prescience, the 
name of Polyneices, a name derived from contentions. 

638—682.] PHCENissiE. 33 


Cadmus the Tyrian came to this land ; and for him 
the fourfooted heifer cast^ herself down, bringing the 
oracle to an accomplishment, there where the divine 
decree ordained that ^ he should make his abode in the 
fire-bearing plains of the Aonians, ' and where the 
moisture of beautiful streams derived from the waters of 
Dirce flow over the fields, verdant and fruitful ; there 
where his mother gave birth to Bromius, in wedlock 
with Jove ; Bromius, whom the clustering ivy twining 
around him covered while yet a babe, making him happy 
with its verdant overshadowing shoots ; a Bacchic dance 
for the virgins and matrons of Thebes, singing, Evoe ; 
there, where was a bloodthirsty serpent, bom of Ares, 
a savage warder, guarding, with eyeballs rolling in every 
direction, watery rills and fresh streams. Him Cadmus, 
having come for sacrificial water, slew with a stone, 
having cast it upon his bloodthirsty head with the hurl- 
ing of his monster-slaying arm, by the counsel of divine 
Pallas, born without a mother, having cast into the 
fruitful fields its teeth, fallen to the earth : from which 
earth sent up a spectacle of warriors in panoply, above 
the surface of the soil. But steelhearted bloodshed 
reunited it with earth ; and it bedewed with blood the 
land that had exhibited it to the warm breezes of the 
air. And thee too, Epaphus, the descendant of lo of 
old, first mother of thy race, thee O son of Jove, I call 
upon, I call upon with barbarian cry, oh, with barba- 
rian prayers, come, come to this land ! Thy descend- 

* 640. dSdfiaffTov, P. ibid. pro dSdnatrroQ fiStrxoc* Matth. 

Trhfjfia diKs nihil aliud est nisi ^ 643. fjikv. fiiv, P. Scriben- 

irretre ; et quod ad fiSffxoe re- dam vtv» Dind. 

ferendum erat, accommodatum ^ 645. tva ye. P. 
est 7oci vktrrifia, dddfAaerov 

34 pncENisSiE. [683 — 706 

ants first made it their home, the *land which the ^two 
deities, Persephassa and the heloved goddess Demeter, 
Earth, queen of all things, and nurse of all things, had 
in possession. Send thou the firehearing goddesses to 
defend this land ; for all things are easy to gods. 


Go thou and fetch hither Creon the son of Menceceus, 
the brother of my mother Jocasta, saying this to him, 
that I wish to confer with him on matters of private 
import, and of common interest to the city, before I go 
forth to battle and the array of the spear. However, he 
saves thy feet the trouble by his presence ; for I see him 
advancing towards my house. 


Verily I have traversed much ground, wishing to see 
thee, O royal Eteocles, and I have visited the gates and 
the sentries of the Cadmeans all round, seeking thy 

Eteo. And indeed I was wishing to see thee, Creon : 
for I found the hope of reconciliation very defective, 
when I went, and engaged ^ in conference with Poly- 

Creon. I heard that he was hauglitier than Thebes, 
and relied on the alliance and army of Adrastus. But 
these things one must refer to the gods. But what is 
most immediately pressing, that I have come to tell thee. 

* 683. g, cannot be construed having two names each ^Earth 

with kKTTiffavTo ; wherefore, if and Demeter — Cora and Per- 

kr^C* he a good reading, ^ sephone)— orasbeing two. Sch. 

must be changed to &v. But Vera videtur altera interpret, 

it is probable that 9ravra>v ut nihil amplius significetquam 

dvatTtra — Urrjcravro is corrupt ; diatrai, — Dind. 

and in the place of something ^ 702. (Tvvrjypa, Subauditar 

construable with ^. — Dind. kfiavrdv, P. 

^ Ibid. diit)vvp,oi, either as 

707—723.] PHCENissjE. 35 

Eteo. What is this? For I know not what thou 
speakest of. 

Creon. a certain captive from the Argives has come. 

Eteo. And what ^ is the last news he brings of mat- 
ters there ? 

Creon, That the host of the Argives is on the point 
of investing, in arms, the city of the Cadmeans, with 
towers 8 round about her. 

Eteo. The city of the Cadmeans, then, must sally 
forth in arms. 

Creon. "Whither? Surely you are not, like a young 
man, blind to what you ought to see ? 

Eteo. Without these entrenchments, to fight with • 

Creon. Scanty are the numbers of this land, but 
they are numerous. 

Eteo. I know them, that they are valiant in their 

Creon. Argos has some reputation among the Greeks. 

Eteo. Be of good courage ; I will speedily fill the 
plain with the slaughter of them. 

Creon. May it be so ! But I see that this is a mat- 
ter of much difficulty, 

Eteo. Be sure, I will not keep the army within the 

Creon. And yet good counsel is the whole of victory. 

Eteo. Dost thou wish then that I betake myself to 
some other plan ? 

Creon. Yes, to every plan, before running all at once 
into danger. 

' 709. ri. P. " Does be bring P. Corrigendum videtur irv- 
anyetc.T* kvoIou — Dind. — *' with fre- 

® 710. nvpyoiffi, WKVoitn, quent arms "— 

36 PHCENissJs. [;724— 739. 

Eteo. If we were to attack them by night from an 
ambush ? 

Creon. Aye, if, supposing thou failest, thou wilt get 
back here safe again. 

Eteo. Night gives equality, and, to the daring, ad- 

Creon. The shadow of night is a terrible time to 
meet bad fortune in. 

Eteo. But shall I assault them with the spear while 
they are at their repast ? 

Creon. There might be consternation ; but it is re- 
quisite to be victorious. 

Eteo. Aye, and in sooth the ford of Dirce is deep to 
retreat by. 

Creon. Everything is inferior to keeping well on 
your guard. 

Eteo. But how, if we were to ride down the Argive 

Creon. There too their host is hedged in with cha- 
riots round about. 

Eteo. What then shall I do ? am I to give up the 
city to the enemy ? 

Creon. By no means ; but take coimsel, since thou 
art a wise man. 

Eteo. What scheme then is found wiser than mine ? 

Creon. They say that seven men among them, as I 
heard — 

Eteo. Have been appointed to do what? For the 
strength of seven is but little. 

Creon. Have been appointed chiefs of companies,^ to 
attack the seven gates. 

" 739. avaaauv. P. " to be chiefs of"— 

740—759.] PHCENisaffi. 37 

Eteo. What then must we do ? For I will not wait 
till a difficulty comes. 

Creon. Do thou also choose seven men against them, 
before the gates. 

Eteo. To be chiefs of companies, or of a single spear ? 

Creon. Of companies, selecting those who are most 

Eteo. I understand ; to defend the approaches of the 

Creon. Choose also colleagues for them ; for one man 
sees not everything. 

Eteo. Selecting them for courage or for prudence of 

Creon. For both. For deprived of one the other is 

Eteo. Thus it shall be; but I, having visited the 
seven towers of the cityi, will appoint captains over the 
gates, as thou advisest ; opposing an equal number to 
an equal number of the enemy. But 'twere great waste 
of time to recite the name of each, when the enemy has 
sat down before our very walls. But I will go, that we 
may not leave our band idle ; and may it be mine to 
find my brother opposed to me, and having engaged with 
him in conflict, to take him vdth the spear, [and to slay 
him who came to ravage my country.] But the mar- 
riage of my sister Antigone and thy son Heemon, if I 
should in any way fail of good fortune, must be thy 

' 748. iroKiv, kvkXov. P. ther kvkXov will do by itself 

" To the seven-towered circuit for kvkXos rttxewv. Dind. 

of the wall." It is obviously Perhaps iTrraTrvpyov wdXiv 

absurd for Eteocles to say he is may be taken as oro^^ Hrrra 

going into the city, when he is TTvpyovc rtJQ 'rrdXtutg, •* th^ 

there : but it is doubtful whe* seveu towers of the city." 

38 PHCENiss^. [760—787- 

care ; and the former betrothal I now confirm, upon my 
going forth to battle. And thou art my mother's bro- 
ther. Why need I speak at length? Support her 
worthily, both for thy sake and mine. But my father 
deserves the reproach of folly towards himself, having 
deprived liimself of sight. I do not greatly praise him ; 
and us with curses he will slay, if it so happen. But 
there is one thing neglected by us, if Teiresias the pro- 
phet-seer has any oracle to pronounce, to enquire about 
these things of him : but I will send hither Menoeceus 
thy son, namesake of thy father, bringing* Teiresias 
ynih him, Creon. For with thee he will come to speak 
with pleasure ; but I, ere this, have attacked his art of 
soothsaying to his face, so that he has grounds of com- 
plaint against me. Now to the city and to thee I give 
this charge, Creon ; if my party is victorious, that the 
corpse of Polyneices be never buried in this Theban 
land : and that he shall die who buries him, even if he 
be one of my friends. To thee indeed I have said this ; 
but to my attendants I say, bring forth my arms and 
coats of panoply, for even now I go forth to the ap- 
pointed conflict of the spear, with victorious justice. 
But I pray to Caution, the most useful of deities, to 
preserve this city. 


O Mars, cause of many woes, why art thou pos- 
sessed with the desire of bloodshed and death, not har- 
monizing with the feasts of Bromius ? Thou dost not, 
when bands of youths^ lead the graceful dance, thou dost 

* 770. Xa^SvTa. d^ovra, P. Loci sententia haec est : *' nee 

** I will send and bring Teire- in pulchros choros ducentibua 

aias. circulis juventutis," i,e, juve* 

•787. <rf£(^avoi<rt(sicut"vul- num et puellarum. 
gi coronam." Ov. Met. 13. 1.) 

788—815.3 iPHiENissJJ. 39 

not, letting fly thy ringlets, send forth, through the 
breathings of the lotus flute, a melodious strain, in \7hich 
the graces direct the dance; but with shield-bearing 
warriors, having excited the host of the Argives to the 
slaughter of Thebes, thou dancest before them in most 
joyless revelry. Neither dost thou, under the influ- 
ence of him who maddens with the thyrsus, reel, clad 
in fawn skins, but thou wheelest round the courser 
of uncloven hoof, amid the chariots and horses' bits. 
And advancing along the streams of Ismenus, thou 
hastenest on with horsemanship, urging the Argives 
against the progeny of the Sown-men, a shieldbearing 
company, clad in beautiful armour, matched against 
walls of stone. Assuredly a fearful Deity is the goddess 
of Strife, who hath devised these woes for the kings of 
the land, the house of Labdacus abounding in misery. 
O thou grove of leaves divine, abounding in wild beasts ! 
Citheeron, beloved of Artemis, nurser of snow ! Oh 
that thou hadst never preserved him who was exposed 
to death, the child of Jocasta, CEdipus, when cast out in 
infancy from his home, remarkable for buckles set in 
gold. And would that the wing of the virgin Sphinx, the 
mountain monster,had never arrived,that caused mourning 
over the land, with her songs of most evil melody ; she 
who once, approaching the walls, used to bear off in the 
claws of her four feet the race sprung from Cadmus, into 
the pathless light of ether ; she whom Hades from be- 
neath the earth sends up against the Cadmeans. But 
another illfated strife, between the sons of CEdipus, 
waxes strong through the palace and the city. For 
never has that which is not good the nature of goodness, 
nor have the children who are the unlawful offspring of 
fE 3 

40 PHCENissJE. [816—8444 

their mother and the pollution ^ of their father : for 
she entered an incestuous bed. Thou didst bear, O 
Earth, thou once didst bear (as I heard, I heard once 
formerly a barbarian tale at home) the race bom of 
the teeth of her serpent feeding otF beasts, with purple 
crest; a most proud reproach against Thebes,^ And 
formerly to the marriage of Harmonia came the denizens 
of heaven, and to the sound of the phorminx (harp) arose 
the walls of Thebes, and her towers betwixt two rivers, 
by the power of the lyre of Amphion ; near the centre 
of the ford of Dirce, who in front of Ismenus, bedews 
the verdant plain. And lo, the horned primeval mother 
of the race, bore kings of the Cadmeans ; and this city, 
exchanging, one for another, myriads of blessings, hath 
taken her stand upon the summit of the chaplets of 


Lead me forward, my daughter ; for thou art an eye 
to my sightless foot, like a star to mariners. Advance 
in this direction, planting my foot on to the smooth 
ground, that we stumble not ; thy father is infirm. And 
guard thou for me the oracular tablets ^ in thy virgin 
hand, which I have taken, having learned the auguries 
of birds in the sacred seats, where I draw divinations. 
My son Menojceus, child of Creon, tell me, how long is 
the rest of the journey through the city, to thy father ; 
for my knee is fatigued, and as I go, with difficulty I 
accomplish the frequent step. 

* 816. fiidfffiara, fiiatTfid re being descended from the ser- 
V. iitonTfLara mali ezcusum pro pent; the honour (Valck.), in 

fiiafffid T£, DiND. Demg yeysvHS, 

* S'Zl.ovsiSoQ, perhaps merely ^ 838. kXtipovq, tabellas vati 

=s" report." Soph. Phil. 477. ciniorum. Valck. 
But the reproach might be iq 

845 — 866.] PHOENiss^. 41 

Creon. Be of good courage ; for near to thy friends, 
Teiresias, thou hast brought thy foot out of harbour. 
But take hold of him, my child ; for an old man, whether 
he be carried in a chariot or go on foot, always expects 
with pleasure the support of another's handJ 

Teir. Well, I am here. Why summonest ^ thou me 
with haste, Creon ? 

Creon. I have not yet forgotten ; but collect thy 
strength and take breath, dismissing the weariness of thy 

Teir. Aye, indeed,^ with fatigue I have arrived, 
'having travelled hither from among the house of Erech- 
theus yesterday. For there also there was a war against 
the spear of Eumolpus, in which I rendered the sons of 
-Slcrops gloriously victorious ; and I have as thou seest, 
this crown of gold, having received it as the firstfruit of 
the spoils of the enemy. 

Creon. I reckon as a good omen]]thy crown of glo- 
rious victory. For we are tossed, as thou knowest, in a 
tempest of the spear of the sons of Danaus, and there is 
great peril for Thebes. The king, however, has already 
gone arrayed in panoply, against the might of Mycence.* 
But me he hath charged to learn from thee by doing 
what we might best preserve the city. 

Teir. For Eteocles's sake, indeed, closing up my 

' 847-8. Recte Schaeferus. « 849. /»* UdXtig. P. ** Why 

Vulgata videtur sana ; sic ver- didst thou summon me V 
tam. Semper (s. omnis) enim » 852. yovv\ P. — " I have 

senez, sive curru vehatur, sive arrived with weariness as to my 

pedihus incedat, libenter ex- knees.'' 

spectat aliens manus levatio- * 862. Or perhaps, " to ward 

nem. Bind. off Mjcenae" quasi Trpof aX- 

The construction appears to iej)i; twv yivKrivCiv cf. 1097. 
be ; TTciffa aTr^viy, Traf t£ ttovs 
TTpeapvrov ^iXii k. r. \. 

42 PHGBNISSJB. [867—894. 

mouth I would have withheld my prophecies ; but to 
thee, since thou wishest to know them, I will tell them* 
For this land hath long been ill at ease, from the time 
when Laius became a father in despite of the gods, 
and begat the wretched CEdipus, to be a husband to his 
mother : and the bloody destruction of his eyesight was 
a contrivance of the gods, and a display of their power 
to Greece. And these things the sons of CEdipus wishing, 
in course of time, to conceal, as if, forsooth, they would 
escape from the power of the gods, erred in th^r foUy. 
For by granting their father neither due honours nor 
liberty to go forth, they drove an illfated man wild ; and 
he breathed out against them fearful curses, being both 
maddened and, moreover, dishonoured. In regard > to 
which matters, what deed did I not, and what words did 
I not say, so that I became at feud with the sons of 
(Edipus ? But death by each other's hands approaches 
them, Creon ; and many men, corpses lying upon corpses, 
having mingled in fight the darts of Argives and Cad- 
means, will cause bitter wailings to the land of Thebes. 
And thou, O illfated city, art uprooted from thy foun- 
dations, unless men shall obey my words. For indeed 
this was the first thing required, that no one of the race 
of (Edipus should be a citizen, much less a king, of the 
land, as being possessed by an evil spirit, and likely to 
overturn the state. But since the evil has vanquished 
the good, there is one other means of safety. But inas- 
much as it is both unsafe ' for me to say this, and bitttt 
to those who endure the misfortune, namely, of affording 
to the city a saving remedy, I vdll begone ; fare ye well, 

» 878. K&yui Tiv\ P. «• and I. ' 891. otS' kfioi P. *• not even 
what words did I not act and for me." 
saj, etc.?"— 

895—912.] PHCENissjE. 43 

For, being one among many, I shall suffer what is to 
oome, if it must be so : for how can I help it ? 

Creon. Stay here, old man. 

Teib. Lay not hands upon me. 

Creon. Stay, why flyest thou me ? 

Teir. Thy fortune flies thee, and not I. 

Creon. Divulge a means of safety to the city and the 

Teir. Aye, surely, thou desirest it, and speedily thou 
wilt desire it not. 

Creon. And how can I not wish to save my native 

Teir. Dost thou then wish to hear, and art thou 
very anxious ? 

Creon. Aye,* for what other end ought I to be 
zealous ? 

Teir. Thou shalt straightway hear my prophecies. 
But first I wish to learn this for certain, — where is 
Menoeceus, who led me hither ? 

Creon. Here he stands not far from thee, but by thy 

Teir. Let him begone then far away from my oracular 

Creon. Being my son by birth, he will keep silence 
on matters when it is proper. 

Teir. Wishest thou then that I tell it thee in his 
presence ? 

Creon. Aye, for he would receive pleasure by hearing 
some means of safety. 

Teir. Hear ye then the course of my oracular words, 
by doing what ye might save the city of the Cadmeans. 

* 902. rt /I*' aXKo, ri fiaXKov, P. Aye, for what ought one to 
be more zealous. 

44 PHCENisfiLfi. [[913 — 927. 

Thou must sacrifice this thy son Menoeceus in behalf of 
his country, since thou thyself callest for the misfor* 

Creon. What sayest thou ? What speech is this that 
thou hast uttered, old man ? 

Teir. What is ^ right, that is also necessary for thee 
to do. 

Creon. O thou who hast spoken many evils in a 
short space of time ! 

Teir. Aye, evils to thee ; but to thy country great 
and saving blessings. 

Creon. I heard not, I heeded not, — let the city go ! 

Teib, This man is no longer the same, he is shunning 
it again, 

Creon. Go in peace : for I need not thy divinations. 

Teir. Hath truth perished, because thou art unfor- 
tunate ? 

Creon. Oh by thy knees and by thy venerable 
hair — 

Teir. Why fallest thou before me ? thou askest for 
evils hard to be warded oSfi 

Creon. Keep silent : and speak not these words to 
the city. 

Teir. Biddest thou me do wrong ? I will not keep 
it secret. 

Creon. What then wilt thou do to me ? Wilt thou 
slay my son ? 

* 916. Matthis. loeptum est his son's life, was asking for 

VE^VKB. Quid dici debuerit the destruction of the city.—- 

recte perspexit Reiskius, qui Matth. 

VB^ayKa (1 have said) conjecit: But Schaefer translates : '*Pe* 

Sed scribendum irkipijve (has tis rem urbi perniciosam, (fiUi 

been shown). — Dind. salutem) quam tenere («. e. ser* 

^ 924. Sv!f^vKaKTa, t. e^ fated vare) non poteris. 
•vils. For Creon by asking for 

928 — 957.] PHCENissa. 45 

Teir. That will be the business of others, but by me 
it will be spoken. 

Creon. And from what has this woe come upon me 
and my son ? 

Teir. Thou askest me aright, and art entering into a 
trial of words. It is required that this man being 
sacrificed over the den where was produced the earth- 
bom serpent, guardian of the streams of Dirce, should 
give his lifeblood in libations to earth ; in consequence 
of Mars' ancient course of wrath against Cadmus, Mars, 
who is avenging the earthbom serpent's death. And by 
doing this ye will gain Mars as an ally. For if earth in 
return for fruit receive fruit, and in return for blood, 
receive the blood of mortals, ye will have that land 
propitious to you which in old time sent up a brazen- 
helmeted crop of Sown-men. And it is required that 
one shall die of the blood of that man who was bom the 
son of the jaw of the serpent. But thou art the only 
one left to us here of the race of the Sown-men, unmixed 
both on the mother's and father s side, thou and thy chil- 
dren. Heemon's marriage, however, forbids his sacrifice ; 
£for even if he has not enjoyed the marriage bed, yet he 
has a bride.] But this youth, being devoted for this 
city, by his death might save his native land. And 
bitter will he render their return to Adrastus and the 
Argives, having cast a dark fate over their eyes, but 
glorious will he render Thebes. Of these two fates 
choose thou one ; for save either thy son or thy country. 
All the information I, indeed, can give thee, thou hast ; 
lead me, my child, homewards. But whosoever prac* 
tises the art of divination, is foolish ; for if he chance to 
have announced things adverse, he has rendered himself 
hateful to those for whom he takes auguries; but if 

46 PHCENISSJE. [958 — 980. 

from pity he speak false words to those who consult 
him, he does wrong in the sight of the gods, Phoebus 
alone ought to have prophesied t(y mortals, he who fears 
no one. 

Chor. Creon, why art thou silent, controlling thy 
Toice, so as to be speechless ? For I also am in conster- 
nation no less than thou. 

Cbeon. But what could any one utter ? 'Tis evident 
what I at least liave to say. For I will never proceed 
to that pitch of calamity as to give up to the city my 
son, sacrificed. For the nature of all men is to love 
their offspring, nor would any one give up his own child 
for men to slay. Let no one eulogize me while he is 
slaying my children. But I myself, for I am in the 
7 prime of life, am ready to die, an expiatory offering for 
my country. But come, my child, before the whole 
city has learned this, do thou, disregarding the unbridled 
oracles of diviners, fly with all speed, quitting this land. 
For he will tell these things to the magistrates and the 
generals, going to the seven gates, and the chiefs of the 
companies ; and if indeed we anticipate him, thou art 
safe ; but if thou art too late, we are undone, thou wilt 


Whither then must I fly ? to what city ? to which 
of our friends ? 

Creon. Where thou wilt be farthest removed from 
this land. 

Men. 'Tis right, therefore, that thou shouldest tell 
me, and I execute the task. 

Creon. Having arrived at Delphi — 

' 968. ccrra/itti. P. 

981—1001.] PH(ENISSJE. 47 

Men, Whither must I then go, my father ? 

Creon. To the land of ^tolia. 

Men. And from that land whither am I to pass ? 

Creon. To the Thesprotian soil. 

Men. To the awful seats of Dodona ? 

Creon. Thou hast judged aright. 

Men. What protection, then, shall I find ? 

Creon. The god is a receiver of fugitives.® 

Men. And what way have I of getting money ? 

Creon. I will provide gold. 

Men. Thou sayest well, my father. Go then; for 
1 9 havingl visited thy sister to console her, whose 
breasts I first sucked when deprived of my mother and 
parted from her, an orphan, I mean Jocasta, I will go 
and will save my life. But come, go thou; let not 
there be any hinderance on thy part. — O ye women, 
how well I have freed my father from fear, having de- 
ceived him with words, so as to obtain what I desire : 
he, who is for convejdng me out, so as to deprive the 
city of good fortune, and who devotes me to cowardice. 
And 'tis pardonable indeed in an old man, but in me it 
has no excuse, to be a traitor to the country which 
brought me forth. That ye may understand then, I will 
go and preserve the city, and will oflFer up my life, to 
die in behalf of this land. For 'tis shameful, if those 
who are not bound by oracular decrees, and have not 
come under the necessity imposed by the gods, yet 
standing in battle array shall not shrink from death, 

® 984. TrSum fioc* cf. Eur. * 986. seq. '* Jungenda vi- 

Med. V. 848. x^P^ Trofiir' — dentur, fioXiav TrpogrfyoprjatuVf 
ijyovv Ti^v kK7rtfi(}>9ti(yav im" slfit Kai edltffu} piov, •• quum 
iixofuvti, ovK ai)T'fi irofjLTrifJiOQ Jocasten adiero ut ei yaledi- 
odea, — ScH. cam, ablbo et yitam seryabo." 



48 . PHCENissJK. . [1002—1 04I- 

fighting in front of the towers in behalf of their country* 
But I, having betrayed my own father and brother and 
country, like a coward shall go forth out of the land ; 
yet wherever I live, I shall be deemed vile. No ! by 
Jove who dwells among the stars and by bloodthirsty 
Mars, he who in old time established the Sown-men, who 
sprung up from out of earth, to be princes of this land. 
But I will go smd having taken my stand on the highest 
battlements, I will slay myself over the dark deep den 
of the serpent, where the soothsayer directed, and will 
free the land. My speech is said. Bufc I go, to confer 
on the city by my death no mean gift, but I shall free 
this land from a curse. For if each individual, taking 
whatever benefit he could, were to go through with that, 
and contribute it to the good of his country, then states 
having experience of fewer evils would thenceforward be 


Thou didst come, thou didst come, O winged one, 
offspring of earth and the viper beneath the earth, plun- 
derer of Cadmeans, cause of many groans, destroyer of 
many, hateful monster, half-virgin, with wandering 
wings and talons tearing raw food ! Who of old bearing 
off on high youths from Dirceean regions, with music 
unaccompanied by the l)nre, and with an accursed fury, 
thou didst bring, thou didsfc bring on their native land 
murderous woes. Bloodthirsty was he of the gods who 
brought these things to pass. And wailings of matrons, 
and wailings of virgins, sent forth groanings through the 
habitations. With a woeful woeful cry, with a mourn- 
ful mournful dirge, one uttered one lament, another 
another, in turns throughout the city. And the sound 
of groaning and wailing was like unto thunder, when- 

lt)41 — 1075.] PHOESNisafi. 49 

ever the winged virgin caused any one of the citizens to 
disappear from the city. But in course of time there 
came, by eommand of the Pythian god, the ill-fated 
CEdipus to the land of Thebes; then to their joy, but 
afterwards again their woe : for the wretched one, being 
glorious in victory over the senigma, contracts ^with his 
mother a marriage that was no marriage, and pollutes 
the city ; and with bloodshed he passes on to a contest 
of impunity, hurling curses upon his children, miserable 
that he is. Him we admire, we admire, who hath gone 
to die in behalf of his fatherland, having left, for Creon 
indeed, wailings, but about to render the gates of the 
seven ^ towers of the land gloriously victorious. May 
we, may we be mothers blessed with such children, O 
thou who didst accomplish the death of the serpent, 
crushed by a stone, having incited the mind of Cadmus 
to the deed ; whence, with ravages, there came rushing 
on the land a curse from the gods. 


Ho 1 who is at the portals of the palace ? Open them, 
convey Jocasta forth from her home. Ho ! again and 
again ! 'Twill be after long delay, but nevertheless come 
forth, hear me, renowned wife of (Edipus, having 
ceased from wailings and tears of mourning. 


O most dear friend, hast thou come, as I suppose, 
bearing calamitous news, of Eteocles being dead, by the 
side of whose shield thou hast ever marched, warding 
off the darts of the * enemy ? What news canst thou 

* 1058. KXiiOpa, hie et alib. * 1074. P. plenius distinguit. 

P. Ibid, ivrav, KkyQaa. cf. *^ Thou hast come, I weea." 

50 PH<ENiss^. [1075—1098. 

have come to announce to me? Is my son dead or 
alive ? Tell me. 

Mess. He is alive ; dread not this, for I will free thee 
from fear. 

Joe. What? How stand the circuits of the seven 
towers ? 

Mess. They stand unshattered and the city hath not 
been stormed. 

Joe. But have they come into peril from the Argive 
spear ? 

Mess. Aye, to the very point of peril ; but the war- 
god of the Cadmeans proved mightier than the spear of 

Joe. Tell me one thing in the name of the gods, 
whether thou knowest anything concerning Polyneices ? 
Since this also is a matter of care to me, whether he be- 
holds the light of day. 

Mess. Both thy children are alive up to this point of 
the day. 

Joe. Mayest thou prosper ! — Well, how repelled ye 
the spear of the Argives from the gates, defending your- 
selves within the walls ? Tell me, that I may go and 
delight the blind old man within the palace, this land 
having been preserved. 

Mess. After that the son of Creon, who has died in 
behalf of the land, standing upon the top of the walls, 
had passed through his throat a black mounted sword, 
a deliverance for this land; thy son distributed seven 
companies and seven captains to seven gates, as guards 
against the Argive spear ; and he appointed horsemen to 
await horsemen, and men at arms to await buckler-men, 
that for the weak part of the wall there might be defence 
against the spear at no great distance. And from the 

109S — 1128.] PHOENiss*. 51 

lofty citadel we behold the white shielded army of the 
Argives departed from Tecmessus : and, with a run, they 
brought the city of the Cadmeans close to the entrench- 
ment.^ And the paean and the sound of trumpets sent 
forth a din together, on their side, and from us on the 
wall. And first, indeed, against the Neitian gates, 
Parthenopseus, the son of the huntress, led a company, 
bristling with frequent shields, having an appropriate 
device in the centre of his buckler, Atalante quelling the 
^olian boar with far darting shafts. But against the 
gates of Proetus came the diviner Amphiaraus, with 
victims on his chariot, having no ostentatious devices, 
but arms modestly free from device. And against the 
Ogygian gates advanced king Hippomedon, having for 
a device, in the centre of his buckler, the Allseeing^ one 
looking out with studded eyes, having some eyes indeed 
seeing, with the rising of the stars, and others closing 
themselves as the stars go down, as we were able to see 
afterwards, when he was dead. But before the Homo- 
loian gates, Tydeus had his station, having a lion's skin 
upon his shield, bristling with the mane, and ^ Titan 
Prometheus was bearing in his right hand a torch, as if 
to bum the city. And thy son, Polyneices, led on war 
at the Fountain-gates ; and upon his shield for a device, 
snorting rapid coursers were bounding with fright, being 
revolved in some cunning way from within on pivots, 
under the handle itself, so that they appeared to be 
furious. And Capaneus, no less haughty, was leading 

' 1100, ra^pov vkXaQ «. r.X. * 1114. ^ravdirrfyv. ArguB sc. 

Phrasis, si ad verbum reddas, ' 1121. Post c^c* iuterpungit 

hojusmodiesfciirsu conjunz- P. i.e. Like Titan Prometheas 

eniDturbemThebanam,m vallo he was bearing a torch in bis 

oontigua esset.'' Sic solent hand, etc. 
Gneci velocitatem significare. 
cf. Soph. £1. 688.— Musgr. 

52 PHCENiss^. [1 1 29—1159. 

on a company into the conflict of Mars against the 
Electran gates ; and on the iron- wrought workmanship 
of his shield, there was an earthborn giant, bearing upon 
his shoulders an entire city, having torn it up from its 
foundations^ with levers, an intimation to us of what our 
city will suffer. And at the seventh gate was Adrastus, 
having his shield full of an hundred vipers in e&gy^ 
bearing on his left arm the Argive boast of the Hydra : 
and from the midst of our walls serpents were carrying 
off children of the Cadmeans in their jaws. And the 
show of each one of these served me, adducing it, as a 
token to recognise the chiefs of the companies. And at 
first, indeed, we did battle with bows and javelins,^ and 
far darting slings, and crashing showers of stones ; but 
when we were getting the victory in the battle, Tydeus 
and thy son, suddenly shouted out, "O sons of the 
Danaans, before ye are crushed with missiles, why do 
ye delay to rush into the gates by scaling, all of ye, 
light-armed men, horsemen, and guides of chariots?" 
And when they heard the cry not one was idle ; but 
many fell wounded in their heads, and of our party thou 
mightest have seen men fallen to the ground before the 
waUs, hurled headlong in crowds, and they were drench- 
ing the parched earth with streams of gore. But the 
Arcadian, not an Argive, the son of Atalante, having 
burst like a tempest on the gates, calls for fire and 
mattocks, as if to uproot the city. But Periclymenus, 
son of the ocean-god, withheld him in his fury, having 
cast a stone upon his head, a chariot-load, a coping- 
stone from the battlements ; and he shattered his flaxen 

^ 1132. Pd9p<av. j8i^. P. by lins with a strap to throw them 
force. with (ayicvXtj), 

liCffa'vcvXocc— Jaye- 


' 1141. fiCffaycvXocc— Jaye- 

1160—1189.] PHCENissjE. 53 

head, and brake the seams of his skull, and straightway 
besmeared with blood his dark red cheek : nor will he 
bear away his life to his mother with the beautiful bow, 
the daughter of Maenalus. But when thy son had seen 
this gate successful, he passed on to another, and I 
followed. And I behold Tydeus and his comrades in 
crowds, darting with -Sltolian javelins against the top- 
most brink of the towers, so that men left in flight the 
summits of the battlements ; but thy son, like a hunts- 
man, rallies them again, and set them again upon the 
towers. But we pressed on to another gate, having re- 
lieved this from its distress. But Capaneus, how might 
I tell how furiously he raged ? For with the approaches 
of a long scaling ladder he was advancing, and uttered 
so great a boast as this, that not even the awful fire 
of Jove should ^ restrain him from capturing the city 
from its highest citadel. And at the ^ame time he 
was proclaiming this, and, assailed with stones, was 
creeping upwards, contorting his body so as to keep 
exactly under his shield, as he was passing over the 
polished rounds of the shafts of the ladder. But when 
he was even now passing over the coping stone of the 
wall, Jove strikes him with a thunderbolt ; and earth 
resounded, so that all were afraid ; and from the ladder 
his limbs were hurled far from each other, his hair in- 
deed to Olympus, and his blood to earth, and his hands 
and legs were whirling round, like the wheel of Ixion ; 
and he falls a blasted corpse to the ground. But when 
Adrastus saw that Jove warred against his army, he set 
down the host of the Argives without the entrench- 
ment. But the horsemen, on our part, having seen the 

• 1176. tlpydOsiv. P. 

54 PHCENissjE. [[1190—1214. 

auspicious miracle of Jove, drove forth their chariots, 
and 9 the men-at-arms joined battle in the midst of the 
camp of the Argives, and there were all evils at once. 
Men were dying, were falling from the rails of their 
chariots, and wheels were bounding on, and axle-trees 
against axle-trees, and corpses were being heaped up 
with corpses together. We stopped, however, the over- 
throw of the towers for the present day; but whether 
this land is to be fortunate henceforward, is the business 
of the gods : for * even now some deity has preserved it. 
*Tis * a glorious thing to be victorious ; but if the gods 
have a purpose which is better, may I be fortunate. 

Joe. The decrees of the gods and the events of fortune 
are favourable ; for both my sons are alive, and the land 
hath escaped. But the illfated Creon seems to have 
derived misfortune from the nuptials of myself and 
CEdipus, having been bereft of his child, for the city 
indeed happily, but grievously for himself. But return 
to thine account, I pray ; what do my two sons intend 
doing upon this ? 

Mess. Let the rest alone : for ever up to this time 
they have been fortunate. 

Joe. Thou hast this suspiciously ; I will not let it be. 

Mess. Wishest thou any greater good than that thy 
children have been saved aUve ? 

Joe. Aye, to hear the rest also, if I am happy in it. 

Mess. Let me go ; thy son is deprived of his shield- 

Joe. Thou art concealing some bad news and hiding it 
in darkness. 

' 1191. iwiXCi 6xXtrat,fcctc. men, men-at-arms, and etc. 
P. And jLhose on our part etc. — » 1 199. om. P. 

drove forth their chariots, horse- * 1200«1 . choro trib. P. 

1215 — 1242.] PHCENissiE. 55 

Mess. Aye, and ' I will not tell bad news after news 
that is good to thee. 

Joe. But thou sbalt, unless, avoiding me, thou escape 
into upper air. 

Mess. Alas ! why didst thou not let me go my way 
after a message of good tidings, but compellest me to 
announce what is evil ? Thy two sons are about to fight 
in single combat apart from the rest of the army, a most 
horrible enterprise: having made before Argives and 
Cadmeans a speech, such as would they had never 
spoken. And Eteocles commenced, from a lofty tower, 
where he had taken his stand, having bid a herald pro- 
claim silence to the host. And he said " O ye chief- 
tains of the land of Greece and most valiant warriors of 
the Danaans, ye who have marched hither, and ye, host 
of Cadmus ! barter not away your lives either for the 
sake of Polyneices, or in my behalf : for I myself, run- 
ning this risk, will singly engage in fight with my 
brother. And if indeed I slay him, I will rule my house 
alone, or if vanquished, I will surrender to this man * the 
city. But do ye give up the contest and * depart to the 
land of Argos, not having left your lives here. [And of 
the Sown-men also so great a number as is lying dead is 
enough,]*' Thus much he said ; and thy son Polyneices 
rushed forth from the ranks and assented to his words ; 
and all the Argives and the host of Cadmus applauded 
these things, as deeming them to be just. And on these 
terms they made a truce, and in the space between the 
armies the chieftains interchanged oaths, that they 
would ^ abide by it. And even then the two youthful 

* 1215. oitK, P. Aye, I will to possess alone — 

not, etc. * 1234. vhastrOi. i'£i(re(r0c. P. 

* 1232. TToXtv. fjiSvif. P. I « 1241. ifjifikvtiv. P. 
will surrender it to this man, 

56 PHCENisSiE. [124.3—1265. 

sons of the aged (Edipus were covering their bodies with 
brazen armour, and their friends were arraying them, the 
bravest of the Sown-men indeed the leader of this land, 
but the other, the chiefs of the sons of Danaus. And 
they twain stood gleaming, and changed not colour, 
eagerly desiring to hurl their javelins at each other. And 
their friends passing before them, some on one side some 
on the other, encouraging them with words, were thus 
addressing them : " O Polyneices, it depends on thee to 
set up an image of Jove, giver of victory, and to grant 
glorious renown to Argos." And to Eteocles, again, 
they said " Now thou art about to fight for thy country, 
now having become gloriously victorious thou wieldest 
the sceptre." Thus they were haranguing, exhorting 
them to the fight. And soothsayers were sacrificing 
sheep, and were '' observing the points of the flame, and 
its windings, its adverse waviness, and the blaze shoot- 
ing up to a peak ; which contains the determination of 
two events, both the sign of victory and the ^ fate of the 
vanquished. But if thou hast any force, or any wise 
words to speak or enchantments to cause love, go, 
restrain thy children from the horrible conflict, for the 
danger is great. And thou wilt reap a fearful prize of 
tears, having been bereft of two children on this day. 

Joe. O my child, come forth, Antigone, in front of 
the palace ; for now the dispensation of the gods does 
not turn out for thee suitable to dances nor even mai- 

' 1255-7. Si in loco obscuro portendit, (hinc vypait multi- 

hariolari licet, tfivvpoi oKfiai plici plenu aras lambentes, pro 

accipi posBunt pro rd tfivvpa eo vypdrriQ IvavTia) et rectum 

in quibus duo observabant flamms apicem (^dxpav Xafji- 

(iviafiiitv) vates, scissiones Ttdda) — Matth. 

flamms (pri^uQ) quae circum ® 1257. rd. r6. P. The Sign. 
aras serpens infaustum ezitum 

1260—1289.] PHCENiss^. 57 

denly occupations. But two most valiant men, and these 
thy brothers, who are falling upon destruction, thou with 
thy mother must restrain from falling by each others' 


O my mother who didst bear me, what new cause of 
consternation is this that thou art proclaiming to thy 
friends m front of this palace ? 

Joe. O my daughter the life of thy brothers is come 
to nought. 

Ant. How sayest thou ? 

Joe. They have joined in single combat. 

Ant. Woe is me, what wilt thou say, my mother ? 

Joe. Not what is pleasant — But follow me. 

Ant. Whither, having left my maiden apartments ? 

Joe. Through the army. 

Ant. I am ashamed to be seen by a multitude. 

Joe. Thy fortunes admit not of modesty. 

Ant. And what then shall I do ? 

Joe. Thou shalt reconcile the strife of thy brothers. 

Ant. By doing what, my mother ? 

Joe. By falling at their feet, with me. 

Ant. Lead thou on to the space between the armies, 
we must not delay. 

Joe. Press on, press on, my daughter : for if I over- 
take my children before the combat, my life is in the 
light of day ; but if they be dead I will lie dead with 


Alas, alas ! my heart is quaking, quaking with fear, 
and through my flesh a thrill of pity has passed, pity 
for the wretched mother. Which then of her two 
children will shed the blood of another ? woe is me for 

58 PH(ENisafi. [1290—1323. 

their woes. O Jove, Earth, the blood of a kindred 
neck, a kindred soul, with shieldclashing, with blood- 
shed ! Which of the twain, then, shall I, wretched, 
wretched bewail, an unhappy corpse ? Alas, O Earth ! 
alas, Earth I the two wild beasts, blood-desiring souls, 
quivering with the spear, will speedily shed the blood of 
their fallen foes. Wretched pair, that ever they 9 enter- 
tained a desire of single combat ! With a barbarian cry 
I will utter in tears a doleful wailing befitting the dead. 
The event is near, hard ^ by bloodshed ; the day will 
decide the future. Illfated, illfated will be the bloodshed 
by reason of avenging furies. But I will stop my pre- 
sent wailings, for I see Creon advancing hither gloomily 
towards the palace. 


Woe is me, what shall I do ? Whether myself or the 
city must I lament with tears, the city which so great a 
cloud envelopes as to send it across the stream of Ache- 
ron? For my son too has perished, having died in 
behalf of the land, having acquired a noble renown, but 
woeful to me. And him I v^retched having just now 
taken up from the dragon cliffs slain by his own hand, 
have conveyed him in my arms, and my whole house 
resounds with wailing. But I an old man have come 
for mine aged sister Jocasta that she may wash and lay 
out my son who is no more. For he who is not dead 
ought by paying honours to the dead, piously to reverence 
the God beneath the earth. 

Chor. Thy sister hath gone forth from the palace 
Creon, and the damsel Antigone in company with her 

' 1300. ^XvOkTfiv. P. * 1304. (p6voi. P. bloodshed 

is near. 

1324—1345.] PHCENissx. J9 

Creon. Whither, and for what purpose ? inform me. 

Chor. She heard that her sons were about to come to 
battle in single combat, for the royal palace. 

Creon. How sayest thou ? In sooth, while paying 
funeral honours to the corpse of my son, I have not 
arrived so far as to know these events. 

Chor. But however thy sister has been some time 
gone. But I suppose that the deadly conflict between 
the sons of CEdipus, Creon, has by this time been accom- 
plished.' Woe is me, I see a sign of it indeed in this, 
the gloomy brow and countenance of a messenger who is 
approaching, who will announce all that is going on. 


O wretched me, what tale must I narrate or what 
words ? 

Creon. We are lost ; thou beginnest thy tale with no 
smiling prelude. 

Mes. 2. wretched me ! doubly do I exclaim ; for I 
endure great woes. 

Creon. In addition to other woes already 'inflicted ? 
Or what meanest thou ! 

Mess. 2. Thy sisters children live no longer in the 
light of day, Creon. 

Creon. Alas !^ thou announcest great woes to me and 
to the city. 

Mess. 2. ye halls of CEdipus, hear ye these things, 
his^ children^ that have perished in the same calamity ? 

Chor. Aye, so that they would wefp, had they but 

» 1332-4. Creonti trib. P. ♦ 1340. t at. P. 

' 1338. dWa irrifjtatnv Xlycic ' 1343. ante traiiuv intellig« 

in ; P. Dost thou annouiice irepl, P. 
yet oUier woes in addition, etc. 


Ct> PHCENiss^. [1346 — 1372. 

Creon. Woe is me, foi a most illfated calamity I woe 
is me unhappy on account of my woes ! O miserable 
that I am ! 

Mess. 2. Miserable indeed, if thou shouldest know 
also the woes that have occurred besides these. 

Creon. And how could there have occurred things 
more illfated than these ? 

Mess. 2. Thy sister is dead, with her two children. 

Chor. Lead off, lead off, a wail ! and strike upon 
your heads blows of your hands, inflicted by your white 

Creon. wretched Jocasta ! What a termination of 
thy life and thy marriage hast thou endured in the 
riddles of the Sphinx ! But tell me too how the death 
of the two youths, and the accomplishment of the curse 
of (Edipus, has been effected ? 

Mess. 2. The success of our land in front of the 
towers thou knowest ; for the encircling walls are not far 
off, so as for you not to know everything that occurred. 
But when the two youthful sons of the aged (Edipus, 
had arrayed their persons in brazen armour, they advanced 
and took their stations in the centre of the intervening 
space,^ [two generals, two chieftains], as for conflict, 
and an engagement in single fight. And Polyneices, 
looking towards Argos, sent forth his prayers, " O awful 
Hera! for thine I am, since I have joined myself in wed- 
lock to the daughter of Adrastus, and dwell in the land, 
grant me to slaj^ my brother, and to imbrue in his blood 
my victorious right hand opposing him .7 \JL ask a most 
shameful crown of victory, to slay my father's son." 
And tears came into the eyes of many for the calamity, 
how great it was : and they looked, interchanging 
• 1362. om. P. ' 1369-71. om. P. 

1373 — 1402.^ PH(ENisa« 61 

glances with one another.] Bi^t Eteocles looking towards 
the temple of Pallas with the golden shield, prayed, ^' O 
daughter of Jove, grant me to hurl out of mj hand a 
victorious javelin into the breast of my brother, from 
this arm, Qand to slay him who has come to destroy my 
oountryj. But when like a firebrand the note of the 
Tyrrheniaa trumpet sounded, the signal of bloody com- 
bat, they rushed in fearfiil course against each other : 
and like wild boars gnashing their fell tusks they 
engaged, moistened as to their beards with foam. And 
they rushed on with lances ; but halted, going round 
each other in circles, that the iron head might glide off 
harmlessly : and each was brandbhing his lance pointed 
forward, wishing to be beforehand, if he should see the 
countenance of the other peering over the rim of his 
shield. But they kept their eyes carefully to the loop- 
holes of the shields, 90 that the spear might be spent 
idly. And more copious sw«at was streaming down the 
lookers on than the agents themselves, from fear for their 
friends. But Eteocles, brushing his foot against a stone, 
which lay in the way of his step, exposes his leg beyond 
the shield ; and Polyneices encountered it vrith a dart, 
having observed an opportunity for a blow afforded to 
his weapon, and he drove the Argive javelin through the 
knee. And the whole host of the sons of Danaus raised 
a cry of joy. But while in this suffering he who was 
first wounded having perceived an unguarded shoulder, 
hurled his spear with force through thei breast of Polyr 
neices, and gave joy to the citizens of Cadmus, and broke 
off the tip of the dart. But being hampered by the 
spear he retires backwards; and having taken up a 
fragment of rock, he cast it fironi his hand, and snapped 
ike javelin in the middle: and the fortune of the war 

62 P^(ESl83JE. [1403 — 1431. 

was equal, both having their hands deprived of the spear. 
Then both, grasping the hilts of their swords, came 
together ; and clasping their shields together, they 
sustained all the turmoil of a conflict, moving round and 
round. But Eteocles introduced the Thessalian man- 
oeuvre, having the idea, I suppose, from his acquaintance 
with that land ; for ceasing from the labour he was 
engaged in, his left foot indeed he whirls round back- 
ward, guarding the hollow part of the stomach in front ; 
and advancing his right leg, he drove his sword down 
through the navel and fixed it in the vertebrse. And 
the wretched Polypeices bending together his sides and 
stomach, falls with gushing drops of blood. But the 
'other, as if now victorious and having conquered in 
battle, having cast his sword to the ground, was spoiling 
him, having his attention fixed not on himself but the 
other, which thing also overthrew him ; for Polyneices 
who had fallen first, having still a little breath, and 
preserving his sword in his woeful fall, with diflSculty 
yet succeeded in thrusting his weapon to Eteocles' heart ; 
and biting the earth they lie both side by side, without 
determining the victory. 

Chor. Alas, alas ! How deeply, O (Edipus, do I groan 
for thy woes. And the deity seems to have fulfilled thy 

Mess. 2. Hear then, now, the woes also which succeed 
these. For when the two youths had fallen and were 
quitting life, in the meanwhile their wretched mother 
falls before them, [[with 8 her virgin-daughter also, and 
with zealous foot.^ But when she saw them wounded 
with fatal blows, she wailed aloud " O my children, too 

• 1430. om. P. 

1431—1463.] pmENissA. 68 

late have I come to your succour." And falling before 
each of her children in turn, she wept, she lamented the 
mighty labours of her breasts, groaning ; and their sister 
her companion, together with her. ** O ye twain, the 
support of the old age of your mother, O ye two brothers 
most beloved, who have betrayed my marriage." But 
king Eteocles, breathing forth from his breast a painful 
sob heard his mother, and laying upon her his clammy 
hand, he uttered indeed no sound, but with his eyes he 
addressed her, so as to convey tokens of affection. But 
Polyneices was still breathing, 9 and looking upon his 
sister and his aged mother, he spake thus : ^^ We have 
perished my mother ; but I pity thee and this my sister 
and my dead brother. For having been beloved he 
became an enemy, but nevertheless was he beloved. 
But bury me, O my mother, and thou my sister, in my 
native land, and pacify the incensed city, so that I may 
in any wise obtain thus much of the land of my fathers, 
even if I have lost my home. And close thou mine 
eyelids with thy hand, my mother, and he places it 
himself upon his eyes, '* And fare ye well ; for even now 
darkness encompasseth me." And both together breathed 
forth their woeful lives. But their mother when she 
beheld this calamity, having suffered more than she could 
bear, snatched a sword from a corpse and did a dreadful 
deed : for through the centre of her neck she thrusts the 
weapon and among those she loved best she lies dead, 
having embraced them both in her arms. And straight- 
way the host sprang up to a contest of words, we indeed 
asserting that our ruler was victorious, but they that 
Polyneices was so. And there was contention among the 

* 1442. Bff i^iv. P. Bat Polyn. w^ was ddll breathing. 
tG 3 

64 PHCENiss^ [1464 — 1490. 

chieftains, some saying that Poljneices struck the first 
blow with his spear, but others that, both being dead, 
the victory was on neither side. j^And in the meanwhile 
Antigone retired secretly from the army.] But they 
tushed to arms ; and somehow by wise forethought the 
host of Cadmus was sitting furnished with shields : and 
we succeeded in falling upon the Argive army before it was 
yet arrayed in armour ; and not one withstood us, but 
they covered the plains in flight, and streams of blood 
were flowing from corpses of those who were falling by 
the spear. But since we were victorious in fight, some 
indeed were erecting an image of Jove giver of victory, 
and others of us, stripping off the shields of the Argive 
corpses, were sending them as spoils within the walls ; 
but others, with Antigone are conveying hither the 
corpses of the dead for their friends to bewail them. 
And the contents of this city have turned out in part 
most fortunate, but in part most unhappy. 

Chor. The ill fortune of this house will come no longer 
for us to hear only : for we may even now behold here 
before the palace the corpses of the three who are dead, 
who have obtained an eternity of darkness by a common 
lot of death. 


The delicacy of my cheek where ringlets cluster is 
unveiled, and not even calling up from maiden modesty 
the red blood to my cheeks, a blush suflusing my counte- 
nance, I am hurried along, a bacchanal of corpses, having 
cast away the veil from my locks, having neglected the 
saffron array of luxury, I, a woeful conductor of the dead. 
Alas, woe is me ! O Polyneices, rightly then wast thou 
named, woe is me, O Thebes ! for thy strife which was 
not strife, but murder on murder hath destroyed the house 

1497 — 1540.] PHCENissjE. 65 

of (Edipus, having been consummated with fearful blood- 
shed, with woeful bloodshed. But what groan in 
harmony with grief, or what tuneful lament shall I 
invoke, upon tears, upon tears, I who bare these three 
kindred slain, mother and children, joys of the avenging 
Fury ? She who destroyed utterly the house of CEdipus 
from the time when he had understanding to interpret 
the song hard to be understood, of the Sphinx, that fell 
minstrel ; depriving her body of life. Woe is me, O my 
father! What Grecian woman or what barbarian or 
who else of the nobly born of old time, of mortal blood, 
hath ever endured such manifest woes of so great evils as 
I wretched bewail ? What bird, then, sitting amid the 
boughs of the topmost foliage of an oak or a pine will be 
responsive to the woes, [the lamentations] of me bereft 
of my mother ? I who with these wailings ^ weep aloud 
the lament, in solitude about to pass a life for ever in 
gushing tears. Whom shall I lament ? On whom first 
shall I cast first-offerings with locks rent from my 
hair ? On my mother's two breasts that gave me suck, 
or upon the unhappy mangled corpses of my two bro- 
thers ? Woe woe ! leave thy abode, bringing out thy 
sightless eyes, mine aged father ! Show forth, O CEdipus, 
thy miserable old age, thou who within the palace, 
having inflicted misty darkness on thine eyes, draggest 
out a prolonged existence. Hearest thou, O thou wan- 
dering through the hall, reposing thine aged illfated foot 
upon a couch ? 


Wherefore, O virgin, hast thou drawn me forth, leaning 

* 1517. hdvpnotc l^is word on ax^ffiv* The latter suggests 
is rejected by Hermann and ij^u or iarai in its place. 
Dind. as being merely a gloss 

6C PH(ENiss^. [1540 — 1567. 

on the prop of a sightless foot, into the light from out 
my murky chamber, with thy most pitiable tears, me, 
that am bedridden, a gray dim phantom of upper air, or 
a corpse from below, or a winged dream ? 

Ant. Thou wilt hear hapless tidings, O my fetber, 
thy children no longer behold the light of day^ no, nor 
thy wife, she who beside thy staff* ever with constant 
attendance laboured for thy sightless foot, O my fathw, 
woe is me ! 

CEd. Woe is me for my calamities ! For we have 
cause to bewail ^ these things, to cry aloud ! Three 
lives, by what fate, how, left they the light of day, O 
my child, tell me ? 

Ant, Not for reproach, much less for exultation, but 
in grief I say it ; thy Avenger mighty with swords and 
with fire and merciless combats came upon thy children, 
O my father, woe is me ! * 

CEd. Alas! 

Ant. Wherefore lamentest thou these things ? 

(Ed. O my children ! 

Ant. Thou wofuldst have felt grief, if, looking upon 
the chariot of the Sun with its four coursers, thou hadst 
cast the glances of thine eyes over these dead corpses. 

(Ed. Of my children indeed the calamity is manifest ; 
but my illfated wife, tell me my child, by what fate did 
she perish ? 

Ant. Exhibiting openly tears of lamentation to all, 

* 1548-9. trapa^dKTpoiQ^ P. satiTus additur 7r<J5a <t6v, 
8C. Otpavtvfiaffiv — with ser- Matth. 

vices as of a staff. '1551. xai Tad* dvTtiv.P, 

Ibid. Otpawivnaffiv kfi6' We have cause to wail, and to 

xOct ad sensum idem est - cry aloud for these things, 
quod kOtp&wivt ; hinc accu- ^ 1559. ^/Aot QSdipo trib. P. 

156S-— 1596.2 PHCENisSiE. 67 

having ^ exposed her suppliant breast, a suppliant she 
bore it, she bore it towards her children. But in the 
Electran gate the mother found her children, upon the 
trefoil-bearing meadow, like lions that dwell in dens, 
engaged in mutual combat with ]ances> for gory wounds ; 
already a cold libation of gore, which Hades received for 
his portion, but Ares assigned it to him . But she having 
snatched a sword of beaten brass from the corpses 
plunged it within her body, and in woe for her offspring 
fell upon her children. And all these miseries, O my 
father, the God hath in this one day brought together 
upon one house, whoever he is who thus accomplishes 

Chor. This day hath been the beginning of many 
woes to the house of (Edipus ; but may the rest of his 
life be more fortunate. 


Cease ye indeed now from your wailings ; for it is 
titne to take order for the burial : and do thou, (Edipus, 
hearken to these words. Eteocles thy son gave to me 
the dominion of this land, giving to Hsemon a marriage 
portion and the bed of thy daughter Antigone. I will 
not therefore suffer thee to dwell any longer in the land ; 
for Teiresias announced distinctly that while thou wast 
inhabiting this land, the city would never prosper. But 
convey thyself out. And this I say not to insult thee, 
nor yet as being thy foe, but by reason of the Avengers 
that haunt thee, fearing lest the land meet with some 

(Ed, O Fate ! from the very commencement how 

* 1569. &pofiha/ Verum J5 strriv bpovovoa jcac 'nportU 
yidetur dpofikva de quo scboli- vovaa rbv juaor^i/.— Dind. 
asta; ypatptrai 8k kuI opofiiva. 

68 PHCENlssiE. [J 597 — 1 622. 

hapless didst thou produce me [and wretched, if any 
other of mortals is so]] ; me, of whom even before I came 
into light from my mother's womb, while yet unborn, 
Apollo did predict to Laius that I should become the 
murderer of my father. O wretched me ! And then 
when I was bom, my father again who begat me strives to 
slay me, deeming that I was bom his foe : for it was fated 
that he should die by my hand ; and he sends me forth, 
desiring the breast, to be a ^ woeful prey to wild beasts : 
and there I am saved alive. Aye, would that Cithceron 
had descended into the yawning abyss of Tartariis, for 
that he destroyed me not, but . gave me over also to be 
a slave about the person 7 of my master Polybus. And 
having slain my father, I, the illfated one, entered the 
bed of my wretched mother ; and begat children who 
were my brothers, whom I destroyed, having inherited 
curses from Laius and transmitted them to my children. 
For never was I by nature so without understanding as 
to have devised these things against my own eyes and 
the lives of my children, except through the influence of 
some god. Well, be it so. What then am I the ill* 
fated one to do ? Who will accompany me, the guide 
of my sightless foot ? This woman, who is dead ? 
Were she but living I know well she would. Or my 
pair of gallant sons ? But they no longer live for me. 
Or am I still young, and can I find even ® sustenance ? 
From whence ? Why dost thou slay me thus utterly, 
Creon ? For thou wilt slay me if thou shalt cast me 
forth from the land. In no wise however by clasping 

• 1603. adXiov. P. me deity gave me to be a slave, 

wretched. etc. 

' 1607. Saifiutv iSuuce UoXv « 1619. auroc. P. can I find 

fiov dfifi diffirdTtiv, P. and the sustenance for myself t 

1622—1648.] PHCENis&fi. 69 

my arms about thy knee will I debase myself; for my 
noble birth of old I will not betray, no, not even in 
that adversity as now. 

Creon. Both thou hast spoken well, that thou wilt 
not touch my knees, and I will not suffer thee to dwell 
in the land. But of these corpses, the one indeed ye 
must straightway carry into the palace, but this other, 
who 9 came with others to sack his native city, the corpse 
of Poljueices, cast ye unburied forth from the boundaries 
of this land. And this proclamation shall be made to 
all the Cadmeans, that whoever shall be detected either in 
bedecking this corpse or in burying it in the earth, shall 
receive deatli in return : * Qbut that they let it be, un- 
wept, unburied, a prey for birds]. But do thou, 
Antigone, ceasing thy wailings for the three who are 
dead, convey thyself into the palace, and remain in thy 
maiden chambers expecting the coming day, on which the 
bed of Hsemon awaits thee. 

Ant. O my father, in what evils are we wretched 
involved ! Be assured, I groan for thee more than for 
the dead. For it is not one part of thy woe that is 
grievous, and another not grievous, but in all alike thou 
hast been hapless, O my father ! But thee I ask, our 
new ruler, why insultest thou this my father, by banish- 
ing him from the land ? Why makest thou laws upon a 
wretched corpse ? 

Creon. These are the decrees of Eteocles, not mine. 

Ant. Aye, senseless decrees, and a fool thou, who hast 
obeyed them. 

Creon. How? Is it not just to execute what is 
enjoined ? 

« 1628-9. S% 8c fi\9i om. vskvv 1628. 

P. ut sit Tbv dk-^UoXvvuKOVQ i 1634. om. P. 

70 PH(ENissjE. [1649 — 1664. 

Ant. No, at least if what is CDJoined is base, and evilly 

Creon. What? Will not this man' with justice Be 
thrown to the dogs ? 

Ant. Noj for ye are "liot exacting from him a legal 

Creon. Aye, but we are, if he was, as he was, a foe 
to the city, not being naturally its foe. 

Ant. Therefore it was he entrusted his fortune to the 
chance of war. 

Creon. Let him then ^ suffer the penalty by remain- 
ing unburied. 

Ant. Having done what wrong, if he came to recover 
his share of the land ? 

Creon. This man shall be unburied, that thou mayest 

Ant. I will bury him, even though the city forbid it. 

Creon. Thou wilt bury thyself then by the side of 
this corpse. 

Ant. But in sooth 'tis glorious for two friends to lie 
side by side. 

Creon. Seize this woman and convey her into the 

Ant. Not so indeed, for I will not loose my hold on 
this corpse. 

Creon. The deity hath decreed, O virgin, not what 
seems good to thee. 

Ant. This also hath been decreed, that the dead be 
not insulted. 

Creon. Be assured, that no one shall cast moist earth 
upon this man. 

* 1654. ry rd^. ry Ara^i^, Scbsf. Ibid, vvv, P. * now.'— 

1665—1680.] PHCENiss^. 71 

Ant. Yea, I beseech thee, by this my mother Jocasta, 
Creon — 

Creon. Thou art losmg thy pains ; for thou shalt not 
obtain this. 

Ant. But do thou at least permit me to pour libations 
over the corpse. 

Creon. This would be one of the things forbidden by 
the state. 

Ant. But permit me to bind bandages about his fell 

Creon. It is not possible for thee to pay honours to 
this corpse. 

Ant. O most beloved, but at least I will kiss thy 

Creon. Thou wilt not gain an impediment to thy 
marriage by thy wailings. 

Ant. What, shall I be married while I live ever to a 
son of thine ? 

Creon. Tis compulsory. ' Whither wilt thou escape 
his bed? 

Ant. That night, then, shall find me one of the 
daughters of Danaus. 

Creon. Hast thou heard what an audacious insult 
she has cast in my teeth ? 

Ant. Let the weapon be my witness and the sword I 
swear by. 

Creon. But why art thou so over-desirous to be rid 

this marriage ? 

Ant. I will go into exile with this my most wretched 

Creon. There resides in thee a generous spirit, but 
some little folly. 

' 1674. ^oXX^ (T*. P. 'Tis compulsory on thee. 

72 PH(ENissjE. [1681 — 1C96. 

Ant. Aye, and I will die with him, that thou mayest 
know further. 

Creon. Go, thou shalt not murder my son ; quit the 

CEo. O my daughter, I praise thee indeed for thy 
zealous affection — 

Ant. * But if I were to marry, and thou wert to go 
alone into exile, my father — 

OEd. Stay and he happy. With mine own evils I 
will be content. 

Ant. Who, then, will tend thee who art blind, my 
father ? 

CEd. Falling where it is my fate, I shall lie upon the 

Ant. And where then is CEdipus, and his famous 
riddles ? 

CEd. They have perished. One day made me pro- 
sperous and one day ruined me. 

Ant. Therefore it is my duty also to share in thy 

CEd. Exile is disgraceful for a daughter, in company 
with a blind father. 

Ant. No, not to a virtuous daughter, but 'tis noble, 
my father. 

CEd. Lead me then forward, that I may touch thy 

Ant. * Here, touch with thy hand an aged woman 
most dear to thee. 

CEd. O my mother, O my most wretched yoke- 
fellow I 

Ant. Pitiable she lies, enduring all evils together. 

* Post 1684. interrog. distin- * 1694. 0iXr4ry. P. with thy 

guit. P.— But if-^l most lo?ed hand. 

1697—1722.] PHCENis&E. 73 

CEd. And where are the corpses of Eteocles and Poly- 
neices ? 

Ant. Here they both lie, stretched ont before thee, 
side by side. 

(Ed. Set my sightless hand upon their ill-fated 

Ant. Here, grasp in thy hand thy slain children. 

(Ed. O ye beloved, woeful corpses ! sons of a woeful 
sire ! 

Ant. O name of Polyneices, in sooth most dear to me ! 

CEd. Now, O my child, the oracle of Loxias is arriving 
at its fulfilment. 

Ant. What oracle ? What, wilt thou tell of woes 
upon woes? 

(Ed. That I, in my wanderings, shall die in Athens* 

Ant. Where? What tower of Attic land will receive 

(Ed. Sacred Golonus, and the temple of the horse- 
man god. But come, minister to me thine aged sire, 
since thou art zealous to share in this my exile. 

Ant. Go forth into wretched exile. Stretch forth thy 
loved hand, my aged father, leaving me to conduct thee, 
like a ship-speeding gale. 

(Ed. Lo, I journey forward, my child ; do thou be- 
come the woeful guide of my steps. 

Ant. Aye, I have become, I have become most woe- 
ful in sooth of all Theban virgins. 

(Ed. Whither do I set mine aged footstep ? bring me 
support, O my child ! 

Ant. This way, this way, advance, this way, Qthis 
way] set down thy foot, my ^ fether, for thou hast the 
strength as it were of a dream. 

« 1721. Trartpom. P. 

74 PH(ENISSiE. QI723 1751. 

OEd. Woe, woe, for most hapless exile ! 7 Thou 
who art expelling me in my old age from my country ! 
Woe, woe ! for me who have endured fearful fearful 
things ! 

Ant. Endured what? endured what? Justice be- 
holds not the vile, nor does she requite the foolish acts of 

CEd. I am he who ascended upon the heavenly song 
of glorious victory, having discovered the riddle of the 
virgin, hard to be interpreted. 

Ant. Dost thou recall the reproach of the Sphinx ? 
Away with mention of thy former prosperity! For 
these pitiful calamities were awaiting thee, that, having 
become an exile from thy country, O my father, some- 
where thou shouldest die. Leaving behind tears of 
regret with beloved virgins, I am about to depart far 
from my native land, wandering in unmaidenly sort. 

(Ed. Oh how great is the advantage of wisdom ! 

Ant. Aye, with respect to my father's calamities it 
shall render me glorious. Wretched am I, moreover, » 
for the wrong done to my brother, who is cast forth from 
his home, an unburied corpse, the miserable one ! whom, 
even if I must die, my father, in darkness I will bury 
9 beneath the earth. 

(Ed. Show thyself to thy comrades. 

Ant. There has been enough of my wailings. 

(Ed. But do thou offer thy supplications at the 

Ant. Having satiety of my miseries. 

' 1724. kXavveiv P. The wrongs of my brother." 

driving, &c. • 1747. aKorl^^, P. ** In the 

® 1744. (ToVf ffvyydvov 9\ P. dark earth.'' — 
" wretched — for thee, and the 

1752—1766.] PH<ENisaE. 75 

(Ed. But go where Bromius dwells, and where is the 
inviolate enclosure of Bacchanals on the mountains. 

Ant. To him, for whom I, arrayed in Cadmean fawn- 
skins in old time led off the holy dance of Semele, on the 
mountains, conferring a thankless honour on the gods ? 

(£d. O ye citizens of a glorious fatherland, behold, 
this man is CBdipus, I who discovered the famous riddles 
and was greatest of men I who alone subdued the 
might of the bloodthirsty Sphinx, now myself dis- 
honoured, pitiable, am driven forth from the land. But 
why do I bewail these things, and lament in vain ? For 
being a mortal I must bear the necessities imposed by 
the gods. 

f Chor. ^ O victory greatly venerated, mayest thou 
dwell with me through my life and never cease crowning 
me with chaplets.] 

' 1764. See note to Orestes, 1691. 












A Phrygian. 




Orestes, avenging the murder of his father, slew iEgisthas and 
Cljtaenmestra ; but having dared to commit matricide, straightway 
he suffered the punishment, being visited with madness. And 
Tjndareus the father of her who had been slain, having brought 
an accusation against him, the Argives were about to pass a vote 
of the people, as to what he ought to suffer who had committed 
an act of impiety ; but Menelaus having by chance returned from 
his wanderings, sent Helen indeed by night into the palace, but 
by day arrived himself. And being called by Orestes to his 
succour, he rather respected Tyndareus, who spoke on the other 
side ; and when the causes had been pleaded before the populace, 
the majority was eager to put Orestes to death. 
' and Pylades his friend siding with these,' counselled him first to 
take vengeance on Menelaus by slaying Helen. They however 
having made the attempt failed of their design, the gods having 
carried Helen away. But Electra put Hermione, who had made 
her appearance, into their hands^; and they were about to put her 
to death, when Menelaus appeared, and, seeing that he was being 
deprived by them of his wife and daughter at once, resolved to 
force the palace : but they were beforehand with him and threa- 
tened to set it on fire. But Apollo appearing announced that he 
was carrying Helen off to the gods ; and commanded Orestes to 
take Hermione to wife, and to give Electra iu marriage to Pylades, 
and, when purified of his bloodguiltiness, to rule over Argos. 

The scene of the drama is supposed to be in Argos ; and the 
chorus consists of Argive women, of the same age with Electra ; 
who come on the stage also inquiring about the sufferings of 
Orestes. And Electra speaks the prologue. The drama, however, 
has its catastrophe rather adapted to comedy. And the scenery of 

* This hiatus is filled up in U rov plov vpoUtrOai, (». e. 

two codd., but, according to ** who announced that he would 

P., not satisfactorily. {l)'6 xai put himself to death with hii 

IvayyiiKdfievoc abrbQ ^ot^- own hand*'); — • 
(Tot, IK Tov /3iov TTpoteaBai. * rovroif. om. P. * 

(2.) IfrayytiXdfitvov airbv 


the drama is thus : Orestes is discovered before the palace of 
Agamemnon, sick and lying on a coucb, from madness; and 
Electra is sitting at his feet. But there is a question why in the 
world she is not sitting at his head ; for the rather thus would she 
have seemed to be regardful of her brother, by sitting nearer ' to 
him. The poet seems then to have contrived thus on account of 
the chorus ; for Orestes would have been disturbed, having but 
lately fallen asleep and that hardly, if the women who compose the 
chorus had been standing nearer to him. And we may guess this 
from what Electra says to the chorus, *' Hist ! hist ! lightlj set 
down the tread of thy shoe." It is credible, therefore, that this 
was the reason of such an arrangement. The drama is of those in 
good repute upon the stage : but in moral sentiment it is the worst ; 
for, except Pylades, all the characters were vicious. 


When Greece went forth against the Trojans, Agamemnon was 
chosen commander-in-chief of the whole armament^ inasmuch as 
he was considered to surpass the rest both in extent of dominion 
and number of ships ; for he contributed an hundred ships to the 
confederation of the army. And when about to set sail he leaves 
behind him ^gisthus as manager and guardian of his affairs at 
home. But when a long period elapsed and Agamemnon did not 
yet return home, then, as indeed it frequently happens, ^gistbus 
had an illicit connection with Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon's wi£s. 
But when Clytsemnestra and JEgisthus heard that Troy was taken, 
and that Agamemnon with the rest was sailing homewards, they 
devise a plan to slay him, when he should have taken possessioQ 
of his house ; so that they might not, when their crime was made 
known to him, be given over to death themselves ; and this plan, 
then, they accomplished. And when Agamemnon had returned home, 
they slew him ; for after the bath they put on him a tunic which 
had no outlets for the head and hands, and they murdered him 
with an axe. However, during the murder of Agamemnon, 
Electra, having stolen away her brother Orestes, that he also might 

* TovTtfi vapuKaOel^ofikvti * Omitted by P. 

TrXijaiairtpov* P. 


not perisb, and having committed him to tiie charge of a certain 
pedagogue, sends him to Phocis, to the house of Strophias, who 
was a friend and kinsman of her lather. And Orestes, when he 
arrired at manhood, taking with him Pylades the son of Strophias, 
that with him he might avenge himself on iEgisthns and CljtSBm- 
nestra, returns secreUy to Argos ; and having received a response 
from P jthian Apollo that be should do this, he first proceeds to 
the tomb of his father and ofiers sacrifice ; and then contrives this 

The pedagogue, to whom he bad been entrusted long since by 
I^ctra and who had arrived, as we said above, at Phocis, this peda- 
gogue he sends before him, to JEgisthus and Clj^tflsmnestra, with 
news that Orestes had been kiUed in the Pythian games, and that 
messengers were then bringing his bones in a coffer, that he might, 
at any Tate, e&are the tomb of his fathers. And Cljrteenmestra 
and ^gisthus being led on by this stratagem, (that I may not make 
a long story of it) are put to death by Orestes and Pylades, first 
Clytsmnestra and afterwards JEgisthus. Orestes th^i having 
committed matricide, straightway suffers the penalty at the hands 
of the £rinyes, being afflicted with madness. And Menelaus hav- 
ing returned from Troy, (for he arrived home later than Agamem- 
non) and putting in at the harbour of Nauplia, by night indeed 
sends Helen into Mycens, but by day entered himself; and finding 
Orestes mad, he is entreated by Orestes and Electra to save their 
lives. For Tyndareus the father of Clytaemnestra had stirred up 
all the Argives against them, that they mi^t put them to death as 
matricides. But Menelaus when he found Tyndareus opposing 
them, and at the same time took it himself into account that if 
Orestes were put to death he should himself be king of Argos, 
refused to aid Orestes and his sist«r, but said that he feared the 
people of Aigos. First then, Orestes and Tyndareus reasoned 
against each other, the latter attempting to show that he had not 
slain Clytflenmestra with justice, but Orestes that he had done so 
with all justice, since she deserved ten thousand deaths. Then an 
assembly being held in the citadel of Mycens, and, the chief men 
of Argos having come together, Orestes is carried thither by Py- 
lades in a litter. After many opinions had been delivered, and 
some in favour of Orestes, while others were against him, at last 
the worst prevailed ; and Orestes is condemned with his sister to 


die by stoning : but Orestes announced to the people that he wonld 
put himself and his sister to death with his own hand. Now his 
friend Pjlades both remained a friend to him daring his misfor- 
tunes, and claimed most zealouslj to share in his death : and since 
it was determined for them to suffer this, Pylades advises that they 
should first take vengeance on Menelaus, saying that *' he shoold 
not live in luxury while we are gone hence ;" wherefore having 
entered the palace under the pretence of wishing to entreat Helen 
not to suffer them to perish but to stretch forth her hand, and urge 
Menelaus though unwilling to preserre them -, when they were 
about to put her to death, her indeed they failed of finding, for she 
had been carried off by Apollo at the command of Jove, bat they 
seize Hermione who had returned from the tomb of Clytseninestra; 
for Helen had sent her some time before, to offer sacrifices to her 
sister. Having seized Hermione there and made sure the gates of 
the palace within, they went to an upper part of the palace, hold- 
ing Hermione and a sword at her throat; and intending after 
having made away with her, in case Menelaus would not save 
their lives, to consume the building with fire. Menelaus accord- 
in|^ly learning from these that Helen was dead, so that he may by 
his coming perchance preserve his own child, began to force the 
palace. But Apollo appearing reconciled them ; declaring that he 
had carried away Helen up to heaven, and bidding Menelaus take 
another wife, and unite Hermione to Orestes after he should be 
purified of the murder ; which purification be obtained at Athens 
where he was tried with the Erinyes at the mount of Mars. On 
this occasion also, when he was about to be condemned by all the 
gods, Minerva by throwing in her vote brought him off victorious : 
and thus Orestes afterwards marries Hermione according to the 
oracle of Apollo, and rules over Argos ; moreover, he bestows 
Electra on Pylades, to whom also she had been previously be- 
trothed by him. 

But we must observe that every tragedy has its end consistent 
with its beginning : for from grief it begins and with g^ef it ends. 
But the present drama, from being tragic, becomes comic ; for it 
concludes with the reconciliations effected by Apollo, after calamity 
terminating in happiness ; and the comedy is interwoven with 
jokes and merriment. 



Tnp]RE is no word so fearful of utterance, no suflFering 
is there, nor calamity sent by the wrath of the gods, the 
burden whereof man's nature cannot endure. For he 
who was blessed (and I reproach not his misfortunes), 
Tantalus, son of Jove, as they tell, flits in mid air 
dreading the rock that impends over his head ; and this 
penalty he pays (as indeed they say), because being but 
a mortaU yet having the same honour as the gods at their 
common table, he had an unchastened tongue, the foulest 
pest of all. This man was the father of Pelops and from 
him was Atreus sprung, for whom the goddess having 
carded out the thread of his destiny spun him forth strife,^ 
that he should engage in war with Thyestes who was 
his brother. "Why need I recall those crimes unspeak- 
able ? Atreus, then, having murdered his children feasted 
him on them ; and from Atreus, for I pass over the 
misfortunes which intervene, was sprung Agamemnon 

' 12. Clotho colum retinet, Lachesis net, et Atropos occat. 

8 ORESTES. [^17 48. 

the renowned, if indeed he be renowned, and Menelaus, 
from Aerope their mother of Crete. Now Menelaus 
married Helen, her abhorred of the gods, while prince 
Agamemnon shared the bed of Cl3rt6emnestra, notorious 
among the Greeks : and to him from that one wife were 
bom we three virgins, Chrysothemis and Iphigeneia and 
myself Electra, and a male child Orestes : born &om a 
most unholy mother, who having entangled her husband 
in a robe whence was no outlet slew him ; but for 
what reason, it were not becoming for a virgin to narrate ; 
I let this pass in obscurity, for men to consider it in 
public. But the injustice of Phoebus why need I accuse? 
for he persuades Orestes to slay my mother who bore 
him, a deed which brings not good fame to all men ; but 
nevertheless he slew her, not disobeying the god : and i 
likewise took part, as far as a woman could, ia the 
slaughter, and Pylades, who had wrought these deeds 
with us. And thenceforth pining away with a fell 
disease the wretched Orestes lies sick ; and reclining on 
a couch belies, and the blood of his mother whirls round bis 
brain with frenzy ; for I refrain in reverence from naming 
the goddesses, the Eumenides, who drive him frantic 
with terror. This is now the sixth day since our mother, 
having died by bloodshed, hath been purified by the 
funeral fire, during which he hath neither taken food 
down his throat, nor washed his body with water ; but 
lying hid beneath his garments, when indeed his frame 
is relieved from disease, then being of sane mind he 
weeps ; but sometimes forth from his coverlets he leaps 
with headlong speed, like a courser freed from the yoke. 
And it hath seemed good to this city of Argos that none 
shall receive us under their roofs nor at the fire of their 
hearths, and that none shall hold converse with us the 

4f8— 80.] ORESTES. 9 

matricides ; this too is the appointed day on which the 
city of the Argives is to pass a decree whether we must 
both die by stoning with stones, or plunge a sharpened 
sword into our necks. But now indeed we have some 
hope that we shall not die ; for Menelaus hath arrived 
at this land from Troy, and filling the port of Nauplia 
with his barks, he anchors off the shore, having wandered 
a long time in erring course from Troy ; and already he 
hath sent before him to our home Helen the cause of 
many a sigh, waiting for the night that none of those whose 
children have fallen under the walls of Troy might, if they 
saw her coming by day, proceed to stone her ; and she 
is within, bewailing her sister and the calamities of our 
house. But she has now indeed some consolatipn for 
her griefs ; for the virgin whom Menelaus left at home 
when he sailed for Tioy and entrusted to my mother to 
bring up, having brought her from Sparta, Hermione I 
mean, in her she rejoices and forgets her woes. But I 
am looking forth in every direction, when I shall discern 
the arrival of Menelaus ; for as regards aught else we 
ride on an anchor of unstable strength, save only if in 
some way we be preserved by his means ; a powerless 
thing is an illfated house. 

Helen. O thou daughter of Clytsemnestra and of 
Agamemnon, Electra, thou who art still a virgin through 
so great a length of time, how, O wretched one, farest 
thou and how thy brother the wretched Orestes, this 
matricide here ? For I deem not myself polluted by thy 
converse, transferring the fault to Phoebus. And yet I 
bewail at least the fate of Clytsemnestra my sister, whom 
since I sailed to Ilium as I did sail in frenzy ordained of 
heaven, I have never beheld, but bereft of her I lament 
her misfortunes. 

10 ORESTES. [81 — 98. 

Elec. Helen, why need I tell thee what being present 

thou seest, that the race of Agamemnon is involved in 
calamities ? I indeed sit here sleepless, by the side of a 
miserable corpse,-^for a corpse this man is, save for a 
little breathing; but his woes I mention not with 
reproach. But thou who art happy, and thy happy 
spouse, ye twain have come to us who are in woeful 

Hel. And for how long a time has he been lying here 
on his couch. 

Elec. Ever since he shed a parent's blood. 

Hel. O miserable be, and miserable his mdther, how 
hath he perished ! 

Elec. So these things are, that he has^ sunk benea\;b 
his woes. 

Hel. In the name of the gods, wouldest thou then 
do me a kindness, O damsel ? 

Elec. Yea, so long at least as I am not occupied by 
attendance ' on my brother. 

Hel. Art thou willing to go for me to the tomb of 
my sister ? 

Elec. Biddest thou me go to the tomb of my 
mother ? For what purpose ? 

Hel. Bearing the first o£ferings of my hair and 
libations from me. 

Elec. And is it not lawful for thyself to go to the 
tomb of those thou lovest ? 

Hel. Aye, for I am ashamed to shew myself to the 

' 91. atrtlprjKiv, P. approved Spia male ezcasum pro vpoas" 
by Dind. ^pi^. — Dind. 

' 93. irpotrtSpi^, P. 7rpo«- 

99—121.] ORESTES. 11 

Elec. Tis late, at least, that thou art wise, who didst 
then leave shamefully thine home. 

Hel. Thou hast spoken aright, but not in friendly 
sort to me. 

Elec. And hast thou then any shame with respect to 
them of Mycense ? 

Hel. I fear the sires of the dead under the walls of 

Elec. Aye, 'tis a matter of fear : for thou art cried out 
upon in Argos through every mouth. 

Hel. Do thou then grant me a favour, by freeing me 
from this fear. 

Elec. I could not bear to look upon the tomb of my 
mother ? 

Hel. Yet at least it is disgraceful that attendants 
should bear these offerings. 

Elec. But why sendest thou not thy daughter Her- 

Hel. .'Tis not seemly for virgins to go amongst a crowd. 

Elec. And yet she might at least repay to the dead 
the care of her education. 

Hel. Well hast thou said, and I will obey thee, dam- 
sel, and I will send my daughter ; for in sooth thou 
speakest well. O my child, come forth, Hermione, 
before the palace, and take these libations and locks of 
my hair in thy hand ; and when thou art come to the 
tomb of Clytsemnestra, pour forth libations of honey 
and milk and mantling wine ; and standing upon the 
summit of the mound speak these words — " Helen thy 
sister offers thee these libations in fear of approaching 
thy sepulchre and dreading the multitude of the Argives." 
And bid her have gracious feelings towards me and thee 
and my husband, and this woeful pair whom the god 
tc 3 

12 ORESTES. [121 — 147- 

hath destroyed. And promise all the gifts offered to 
those below, which it is right that I should accomplish 
for my sister. Go, my child, be quick, and having 
bestowed libations on the tomb, remember with all speed 
thy backward road, 

Elec. O human nature, how great a curse art thou 
to mortals, and a saving boon to them who possess thee 
with honour ! * Saw ye how she cropt her locks at the 
very tips, preserving her beauty ? But she is the same 
woman as of old. May the god hate thee, inasmuch as 
thou hast ruined me and this man, and all Greece. Wretch 
that I am ! Hither again appear my friends responsive 
to my waiUngs ; perchance they will disturb from sleep 
him who is at rest here, and will melt away mine eye 
with tears, when I see my brother frantic. O women 
most beloved, advance with silent step, make no noise, 
nor let there be any sound : for your friendship is indeed 
kindly to me, but 'twill be a misfortune to me to disturb 
this man. Hist ! hist ! set lightly to earth the tread 
of your shoe, make no noise, nor let there be any sound. 
Go ye I pray afar, thither, afar from the couch. 

Chorus. Lo, I obey. 

Elec. Hush, hush, like^ the breathing of the delicate 
reed-pipe, speak to me, loved one. 

Chor. Hark, how I utter the soft note ^ of the reed. 

* 128. lUtTE Trap' aKpaQ orreyoc Hesych.) ** vox quae sub 

K.T, X.; l^iTt yap aKpag k. r. \. tecto editur : " and the whole 

P. for see how she has cropped passage "cumleni voce domum 

the extremities of her hair, etc. intro. ' — H. Steph. explains it, 

^ 145. 'oTToiQ wod. C)C trvoid. ** vox quae sab tecto domus con- 

P. . tineatur, nee extra a quoqaam 

® 147. viropofpov, Matthiae exaudiri potest" — and there- 
considers the derivation from fore," gentle.'* It may perhaps 
opoipog a reed to be " nuga signify, " such a voice as one 
grammaticorum '* : and trans- uses in a room, as opposed to 
lates it like V7ru>po0o£ (={r7rd« open air speaking." 

148 — 177.] ORESTES. 13 

Eleg. Aye, thus approach, approach ; draw near 
silently, silently advance ; tell me for what purpose ye 
are come ; for this man now for some time has been 
lulled in rest, reclining. 

Chor. How fares he 7 Communicate thy words to 
us, beloved one. 

Elec. What misfortune must I tell ? or what calamity ? 
He still breathes, and groans but little. 

Chor. What sayest thou, O wretched one ? 

Elec. Thou wilt destroy him if thou stir his eyelids 
while he enjoys the sweet boon of sleep. 

Chor. Wretched he, for most hostile- deeds per- 
formed by the gods. Miserable man, alas for his suf- 
ferings ! 

Elec. 7 Unjust was he who at that time then uttered 
words of injustice, uttered them when Loxias upon the 
tripod of Themis decreed the ^ unnatural murder of my 

Chor. Seest thou ? He moves his body within the 

Elec. Aye, for 'tis thou, wretched one, who by thy 
cries hast stirred him up from sleep. 

Chor. Methought, however, he slept. 

Elec Wilt thou not from us, wilt thou not from the 
palace move thy foot swiftly back again, ceasing from 
thy din? 

Chor. He slumbers. 

Elec. Thou sayest well. 

Chor. O awful, awful night, the giver of sleep to 
mortals of many toils, come from the realms of darkness, 
haste, haste with winged flight to the house of Aga- 

7 162. & & dSiKOQ, K. r. X. P. faosta caBdes. D/nd. 
'163. ipdvoQ dtrd^ovoCf in- 

14 ORESTES. [^177—210. 

memnon ; for with gneU and calamities we are utterly 
sped, we are sped. 

£lec. Ye have caused a din. ^ Wilt thou not in 
silence, in silence keeping the vociferations of thy mouth 
far from his couch, grant him the gentle ^ hoon of repose, 
my friend ? 

Chor. Tell us, what issue of his sufferings awaits 
him ? 

Elec. Death, death ;^ what else should? For he hath 
not even desire of sustenance. 

Chor, His fate then is manifest beforehand. 

Elec. 'Twas Phoebus utterly destroyed us, when he 
permitted the wretched, unnatural murder of our mother, 
the slayer of our sire. 

Chor. Justly, indeed, but not honourably. 

Elec. Thou art dead, thou art dead, O my mother, 
who didst , bring me forth, and thou hast destroyed my 
father and these children of thine own blood. We have 
perished dying by the same death, ' we have perished. 
For both thou art among the dead, and the greater * part 
of my life hath passed away in groanings and wailings 
and nightly tears. Look upon me, for I wretched, un- 
married, childless, drag on my life as ever. 

Chor. Take care, thou virgin Electra, who art pre- 
sent by his side, that thy brother here be not dead witli- 
out thy knowledge ; for he pleases me not with his 
excessive languor. 

• 182. HA. KTvvov TfyaytT*, calm joj — 

XO. oM' H^' ^*y *• ''• ^" '•*• ' 188. BavtXv once in P. 

El. Ye have fcaused a din, « 200. dXdfieO* oXofuO' Uro^ 

Chor. Naj. El. By keeping vsKVi, dying both by the same 

in silence, in silence the voci- death. P. 

ferations etc. thou wilt grant * 202. fiiov rb trXkov vXkou 

him etc. fii6Tov. P. 

^ 186. x«P**'' xap^v. P« The 

211—233.] ORESTES. 15 

Orestes. thou fond charm of sleep, protector 
against disease, how sweetly hast thou come to me and 
in my need I O awful oblivion of my woes, how wise 
art thou, and a goddess to be entreated of the unhappy ! 
Whence ever came I hither ? and how did I arrive ? for 
I am in forgetfulness, having been deprived of my former 

Eleg. O my dearest brother, how thou didst gladden 
me, by falling into slumber. Dost thou wish me to 
touch thee, and raise up thy body ? 

Ores. Yea, lay hold, lay hold upon me, and wipe 
away the clotted foam from my wretched mouth and 
from my eyes. 

Elec. Lo the grateful service, and I refuse not to tend 
a brother's limbs with*a sister's hand. 

Ores. Support my side with thine, and remove the 
squalid hair from my brow ; for I see but little with mine 

Elec, O wretched head, filthy in thy curls, how wild 
hast thou become from long absence from the bath. 

Ores. Recline me again on the couch; when the 
plague ^ of madness leaves me free, I am unhinged and 
have no strength in my limbs. 

Elec. There — the bed in sooth is pleasant to a sick 
man ; being a thing painful indeed to keep, but necessary 
for all that. 

Ores. Raise me again upright, turn my body round. ^ 
The sick are hard to please from their helplessness. 

Elec. Wilt thou also set thy feet upon the ground, 

^ 228. fiaviac u\ P. The substantiye, the construction is 

accent of fiaviaQ is uncertain : *' whenever my malady leaves 

but however accented it should me free from madness.'' 

be taken as an a((;ec(ive. If a * 232. P. attributes to Chorus. 

16 ORESTES, 1^234 — 258. 

putting to earth thy footstep after a long interval? 
Change in all things is sweet. 

Ores. Assuredly : for this carries with it the appear- 
ance of health ; and even the appearance is an improve- 
ment, though it he far from the truth. 

Elec. Hear me then, O my brother, while the Erinyes 
permit thee to enjoy thy reason. 

Ores. Wilt thou tell me any news ? if indeed it is 
good, thou bringest what is grateful ; but if it tend to 
any mischief I have enough of unhappiness. 

Elec. Menelaus has arrived, thy father's brother, 
and Qhe benches of] his ships are at anchor in Nauplia. 

Ores. What sayest thou ? Has he appeared, a light 
in my calamities and thine, a man of kindred blood and 
who is under obligation to my falher ? 

Elec. He has come ; receive this part of my news as 
certain, bringing home Helen from the walls of Troy. 

Ores. Had he been preserved alone he had been the 
more enviable ; but if he brings home his wife, he has 
come accompanied by a mighty curse. 

Elec. Tyndareus hath produced a family of daughters 
notorious for censure, and of bad repute throughout 

Ores. Be thou then diflferent from the base ; for it is 
in thy power; and not only say these words but entertain 
these sentiments. 

Elec. Woe is me, my brother, thy countenance is 
disturbed, and quickly hast thou changed to madness, 
being but now of sane mind. 

Ores. O my mother, I implore thee, set not on me 
the virgins (i. e. furies) bloody to behold, and of dragon 
form ; for these, these are leaping near me. 

Elec. Stay, thou wretched one, quietly on thy couch ; 

259—284.] ORESTES. 17 

for thou seest nought of what thou fanciest thou hast 
clearly seen. 

Ores. O Phoebus, the dread goddesses, hound-faced, 
fierce- visaged priestesses of Hades, will slay me. 

£lec. In sooth I will not let thee go ; but entwining 
my hands about thee, I will restrain thee from taking 
these ill omened leaps. 

Ores. Let me go ; being one of the Erinyes, thou 
gripest me by the waist, that thou mayest hurl me into 

Elec. Woe is me, wretched ! What succour may I 
obtain since we have found the deity a foe ? 

Ores. Give me my bow of horn, the gift of Loxias, 
wherewith Apollo bade me ward off the goddesses if 
they should terrify me with frantic madness ! 

Elec. 7 And will any of the gods be struck by mortal 
hand ? 

Ores. If she pass not away from my sight. Hear 
ye not ? see ye not the winged shafts of the far darting 
bow starting from the string ? Ha ! ha ! Why then do 
ye linger ? Skim the heights of ether with your pinions, 
and arraign the oracles of Phoebus. — Well. — Where- 
fore am I thus agitated, exhaling the breath from my 
lungs ? Wliither, whither I pray have I rushed from 
my couch ? For after a tempest again again I behold a 
^calm. My sister, why weepest thou, putting thy head 
within thy robes ? I am ashamed at making thee a 
partaker of my suflFerings, and of troubling a virgin with 
my malady. Pine not away by reason of my woes ; for 
thou indeed didst consent to these things, but by me was 

7 271. Continuandus bic ver- the gods will be^ kc, unless 
BUS Oresti, commate post xc/ol tboa etc. 
posito. Bind. Ores. One of 

18 ORESTES. [284—314. 

the murder of our mother accomplished ; but Loxias I 
blame, who having incited me ^ to a most unholy deed 
with his words indeed encouraged me, but by his deeds 
in no wise. But I ween that my father, had I inquired 
of him face to face whether I ought to skiy my mother, 
would have uttered many earnest prayers by this my 
beard, that I should not thrust a sword into the throat 
of her who bore me, if by the deed neither he was to 
regain the light of day, and I the hardened one was to 
fulfil such woes as these. But now uncover thy face, O 
my sister, and give over weeping, even if we are in very 
woeful plight : and when thou seest me on my part dis- 
quieted, do thou 9 appease and mollify the terror and 
distraction of my mind ; but when thou groanest^ 'tis 
right for me being by to admonish thee in friendly sort : 
for these kindnesses are honourable among friends. But, 
O wretched one, go within the palace, and in recumbent 
posture give up thy .sleepless eyelids to slumber, and take 
some food, and apply the bath to thy body. For if thou 
shalt fail me, or by attendance on me shalt catch any 
disease, we are lost : for thee alone I have an ally, being 
as thou seest destitute of others. 

Elec. It is not good : with thee I will choose both to 
die and to live ; for 'tis the same thing : if thou die, 
what shall I a woman do ? How shall I be preserved 
alive, brotherless, fatherless, friendless ? But if it seems 
good to thee, thus I must do : but recline thy body upon 
the couch, and do not too readily give way to that which 
terrifies thee and scares thee from thy resting place, but 
remain upon the well covered bed. For even if thou be 

* 286. Iwalptiv rivd ri die- Matthiae. Dind. 
turn at 'jrtiOeiv nvd rt, monet * 298. tcrxaw't. P* 

314 — 349.] ORESTES. 19 

not afflicted but fanciest thou art afflicted, ^ to mortals 
this becomes both trouble and distress. 


Woe ! woe ! O ye swift- winged deities, * shrilly 
screaming, ye to whom hath fallen the lot of a joyless 
company, amidst wailings and tears, ye dark Eumenides ; 
and who hurry ^ through the wide expanse of ether, 
exacting vengeance for blood, chastising murder, I sup- 
plicate ye, I supplicate ye, permit the son of Agamem- 
non to have oblivion of his frantic wandering madness. 
Woe for those toils, impelled by which thou now art 
perishing, having received from the tripod the response 
which Phoebus pronounced, pronounced, on that spot 
where are the secret recesses which are called the navel of 
earth. O Jove ! what pitiable woe, what strife of blood 
is this which approacheth hastening on against thee the 
wretched one, for whom some avenging fury adds [|will 
add P.] tears to tears, bringing upon thy house the 
blood of thy mother, which rouses thee to frenzy ? I 
bewail thee, I bewail thee. Mighty prosperity is not 
stable among mortals ; but some deity, blowing it hither 
and thither like the sail of a swift bark, overwhelms it 
in the greedy death-fraught waves of fearful woes,* as 
of a sea. For what other house, up to this time, besides 
that which was bom of divine wedlock, the house of 
Tantalus, must I revere ? But hither indeed comes the 
king, the royal Menelaus, by his exceeding splendour 

* 315. Mibi hsec tarn inepta metrum. Simplex iraWoi medio 

▼identur ut non dubitem quia sensu occurrit Electr. 438. 

post y. 314 aliquid ezciderit. Mox. 319. P. 

Dind. * 343. The above construc- 

^ 318. iroTviddtg' Perhaps tion is according to Matth. : 

also for irdTviait awful. others govern jroviav bj jcarl- 

® 322. <i/i7rdXX£r\ P. propter kKvuiv, inundates it with woes. 

20 ORESTES. C350— 380. 

clearly discernible ^ to be of the blood of the sons of Tan- 
tains. O thou who didst rouse up an armament of a 
thousand ships against the limd of Asia, all hail ! But 
thou art th3rself an associate of good fortune, hairing 
accomplished, by the help of the gods, all that was thy 


O thou palace ! in one sense indeed I look upon thee 
with pleasure, having returned from Troy, biit in another 
I groan wh^i I behold thee. For no other hearth, have 
I ever yet seen more encircled than thou art by woeful 
ills. For the &te indeed of Agamemnon and his death, 
I knew by what a death he fell at the hand of his wife, 
when I had put in my prow at Malea : for from the 
waves the seam^s seer, the prophet Glaucus, Neiena' 
son, announced it to me, a god who cannot lie ; and 
he spake these words to me, visibly standing by me. 
^^ Menelaus, thy brother lies dead ; having met with his 
last bath at the hands of his vnfe," but he filled me 
and my sailors with many tears. But as soon as I 
touched the land of Nauplia, where my vnfe was already 
setting out to come hither, I, expecting to embzace in 
my dear arms Orestes the son of Agamemnon, and his 
mother, as prospering, heard from a seabeaten sailor of the 
unholy murder done on the daughter of Tjmdareus. And 
now, tell me, O damsels, where is the son of Agamenmon 
who has dared these evil deeds. For he was but a child 
then, in the arms of Clyteemnestra, when I left the 
palace, voyaging to Troy ; so that I should not recognise 
him, were I to look upon him. 

Orbs. 1 am Orestes, Menelaus, for whom thou in- 

* 349. iro\i> ^* aj3p' P. and discernible etc. 
by his splendour, very clearly 

381—396.] ORESTES. 21 

quirest. Readily will I narrate to thee my woes. But 
in the fbrst place I embrace thy knees as a suppliant, 
letting fall prayers from a mouth unaided by the olive 
branch'; save me ; and thou thyself hast come at the 
very moment to preserve me from evil. 

Men. O ye gods, what do I behold ? whom of the 
dead do I look upon ? 

Ores. Thou hast said aright ; for I live not in my 
wretchedness, but yet behold the light of day. 

Men. How wild hast thou become with thy squalid 
hair, wretched one. 

Ores. Tisnot my appearance, but my deeds, that 
torment me. , 

Men. And fearfully thou glarest from thine eyes with 
haggard eyeballs. 

Ores. My body is gone : but my name hath nq^ for* 
saken me. 

Men. Oh how contrary to my expectations is the 
appearance of thine unseemly form E 

Ores. I here, am the murderer of my ill&ted 

Men. I have heard it; but spare to repeat <^ evil 

Ores. I do spare : but the deity is lavish to me of 

Men* What sofferest thou ? What disease destroys 

Orbs. My conscience ; for I am conscious of having 
done fearful deeds. 

< 893. Debebat dicere ftlSov rum constractio ; pro eo ay- 
firj iroXk^KiQ Xly€iv Kaxa, qua nonjrmum posait yocabulttia 
est legitima hojusmodi verbo- dXiydxiC. Pind. 

22 ORESTES. 1^397—413. 

Men. How sayest thou ? That, in sooth, is wise 
which is clear, not that which is not clear. 

Ores, Grief especially, at least, it is that b destroying 

Men. And a fearful deity too, but nevertheless ap- 

Ores. And fits of madness, avengers of my mother's 

Men. And when didst thou commence thy &enzy ? 
what day was it, then ? 

Ores. The day on which I honoured my mother by 
raising a tomb over her. 

Men. Was it at home, or in attendance at the funeral 
pyre? ' 

Ores. 'Twas while watching by night the taking up 
of her bones. 

Men. Was any one else present, who supported thy 
body ? 

Ores. Pylades, who helped me in shedding the blood 
and committing the murder of my mother. 

Men. And by what sort of phantoms art thou thus 

Ores. Methought I saw three damsels like imto night. 

Men. I know those thou speakest of, but I wish not 
to name them. 

Ores. Aye, for they are awfiil : and wisely thou art 
averse to naming^hem. 

Men. Do these inspire thee with frenzy for the 
shedding of kindred blood ? 

Ores. Woe is me for their pursuits, with which \ 
wretched I am harassed. 

Men. Tis not strange that those who have done 
fearful deeds should suffer fearfully. 

41 i— 431.] ORESTES. 23 

Ores. But I have where I may transfer my calamity. 

Men. Say not death ; for that indeed is not wise. 
' Ores. Phoebus, who commanded me to perpetrate the 
murder of my mother. 

Men. Yea, being little skilled in right and justice. 

Ores. We are the slaves of the gods, whatever t|iose 
gods be. 

Men. And then does not Loxias defend tiiee in thy 
troubles ? 

Ores. He delays ; but the Deity is such by disposition. 

Men. And liow long is it since thy mother breathed 
her last ? 

Ores. This is the sixth day ; her foneral pile is yet 

Men. How speedily have the goddesses visited thy 
mother's blood upon thee ! 

Ores. I am by nature not prudent, but a true finend 
to my Mends. 

Men. And does the vengeance of thy father affnrd 
thee any help ? 

Ores* Not as yet : and delay I consider the same 
as ruin.'' 

Men. And how standest thou as regards the city 
having done these deeds ? 

Ores. We are hated so that no one speaks to us. 

Men. Hast thou not even been purified from the blood 
on thy hands, according to the laws ? 

Orbs. Nay ; for I abi shut out from all houses 
wherever I go. 

Mbn. Which of the citizens vie with each other to 
expel thee from the land ? 

7 426. dirpa^i^ : perhaps the sane «0 doing nothing at all. 
Jd 3 

24 ORESTES, ^432 — 448. 

Ores. (Eax, throwing back upon my father his 
hatred which arose from Troy. 

Men. I miderstand ; the death of Palamedes avenges 
itself on thee. 

Ores. Aye, a death in which I had no part ; thrice 
utterly^ am I ruined. 

Men. And who besides? I suppose some of the 
friends of iBgisthus ? , 

Ores. These insult me, and the city at present listens 
to them. 

Men. And does the city permit thee to hold the 
sceptre of Agamemnon ? 

Ores. How should they, who do not even suffer us 
to live any longer ? 

Men. By doing what that thou canst tell, me clearly? 

Ores. A decree will be passed against us this very 
day. . 

Men. To go into banishment from this city, or to die, 
or not- to die 7 

Ores. To be stoned to death by our fellow citizeni^. 

Men. And dost thou not then escape, passing over the 
boundaries of the land ? 

Ores. We are encircled around by all brazen arms. 

Men. Privately, by personal foes, or by an Argive 
band ? 

Ores. By all the citizens, that I may die : the tale 
is short. 

Men. O wretched one, thou hast arrived at the ex- 
tremity of calamity ! 

Ores. My hope looks to thee for a refuge from woe. 

^ 434. ^(d TpiSiVf t. tf. Travrc- means to give a competitor 
\&Qf metaphora a verbo rpi- three falls and so to beat him. 
a^aisumpta. — Bbunck. r/oia^oi 

449 — 478.] OBESTES. 25 

And do thon, who hast returned prosperous, impart of 
thy prosperity to thy friends who are in woeful plight, 
and do not keep to thyself that which is good, when 
thou hast received it, but take a share of trouble also, in 
thy turn, repaying my father s kindnesses to those to 
whom thou shouldst repay them. For those friends 
have the name only but not the reality, who are not 
friends in misfortune. 

Chor. And see, hither speeds the Spartan-bom Tyn- 
dareus with aged foot, clad in black robes, and with his 
head shorn in token of mourning for his daughter. 

Ores. I am lost, Menelaus ; here comes Tyndareus 
towards us, into whose presence I am, above all, ashamed 
to come after the deeds I have done. For he both 
brought me up when little, and gave me many a kiss, 
bearing about in his arms the son of Agamemnon, and 
Leda together with him, both honouring me no less than 
the twin sons of Jove : and to them, O my wretched 
heart and soul, I have paid back no fair return : what 
darkness may I find* to conceal my face ? what cloud may 
I set before me, flying the sight of the old man's eyes ? 


Where where may I see the husband of my daughter, 
Menelaus? For as I was pouring me out libations 
over the tomb of Cl3rt8emnestra, I heard that he had 
arrived at Nauplia with his wife, having been preserved 
in safety for many years. Lead me to him ; for I wish 
to stand on his right hand and greet him, having beheld 
my friend after so long a time. 

Men. Hail, aged man, thou whose bed Jove has 

Tynd. All hail thou also, O Menelaus, my kinsman* 
Ha ! what an evil it is not to know titie future ! 



[479 — 502 

This matricidal serpent here before the palace flaaliei 
forth the lightnings of madness, he, mine abominatioiL 
Menelaus, dost thou address him, an impious wretch ? 

Men. Why not ? He is the son of a &ther dear ic 

Ttnd. What, is this man sprung from him, being 
such as he is ? 

Men. He is sprung from him : and if he be unfortu- 
nate, he must be respected. 

Ttnd. Thou hast become barbarian, dwelling so long 
among barbarians. 

Men. 'Tis a Grecian custom, I ween, to respect one 
of the same racse. 

Ttnd. Aye, and not to choose to be superior to tiu 

Men. All that is of necessity, is as the act of a aUvc 
in the eyes of the wise. 

Ttnd. Do thou then hold this opinion, but I will 
never entertain it. 

Men. Aye, for thy passion and thine old age togethei 
are not a wise union. 

Ttnd. With respect to this man, could any question 
^[what question P.^ as to wisdom arise ? If what is 
right is evident to all, and what is not right, who among 
men has been more foolish than this man, who, indeed, 
regarded not justice, nor did he conform to the common 
law of the Greeks ? For when Agamemnon had breathed 
forth his life, smitten over the head by my daughter-^-a 
moat foul de«d, for never will I praise it— he ought to 
have proceeded against his mother, instituting a righteous 
trial for murder, and to have cast her forth from his 
house : and so he would have gained the reputation oi 

503—530.] ORESTES. 27 

prudence, in return for 9 [from P.] the penalty she would 
have suffered, and would have observed the law, and 
have been a pious man. But now he has come into the 
same fate as his mother : for with justice esteeming her 
base, he has himself become more. base by having com- 
mitted matricide. But I will ask thee, Menelaus, thus 
much. If this man's wife, the partner of his bed, should 
slay him, and his son, again, shall in turn slay his 
mother, and then he who is bom from him shall expiate 
murder by murder, to what point, prithee, will the limit 
of mischief advance ? Our fathers of old ordained these 
matters well ; for they permitted him not to come into 
the sight of their eyes, nor into their presence, whoever 
had the pollution of blood, but commanded to purify 
him by exile, but not to take blood for blood. For ever 
there would have been one to entangle himself in blood- 
shed, taking upon his hands the last pollution. But I 
detest indeed impious women, and most of all my 
daughter who slew her husband : Helen also, thine 
own wife, never will I praise, I y^vld not even speak 
to her ; nor do I admire thee for going, for the sake of 
a vile woman, to the plains of Troy. But I will defend, 
as far as I am able, the law, putting a stop to this bru- 
tality and bloodthirstiness, ever making havoc of both 
land and cities. For what state of mind hadst thou 
then, thou wretch, when thy mother bared her breast, 
supplicating thee ? I indeed who did not see the evil 
deeds done there melt away mine aged eye with tears, 
wretched that I am ! One thing there is in harmony 

» 502. &vtI ffvu^opac. '* Hie consequi ut ilia pctDam calami- 

est totius loci* sensus, potuisse tatis, ipse modestis et praden- 

Orestem, si matrem e domo tie laudem reportaret." Dind« 
ejicere satis habuisset, hoc 

28 ORESTES. [531— 561. 

with my arguments; tbon art hated at least by thegods, 
and thou sufferest retribution for thy mother's death, 
wandering in frenzy and terrors. Why need I listeo to 
other witnesses than the things which I can bdiold ? 
That thou mayest understand then, Menelaua, act not in 
defiance of the gods, by bebg willing to aid this man ; 
[but suffer him to be stoned to death by the citiz^ia, or 
never set foot upon the land of Sparta.] far my 
daughter indeed in her death suffered justly ; but it was 
not right that she should die by this man's hand. And 
I in all else am a happy man, save as to my danghten; 
but in that respect 1 am not prosperous. 

Chob. Enviable is he who hath been fortumte as to 
his children, and hath not incurred notable oalamitieB. 

Obes. Old man, in sooth I fear to speak against thee, 
when ^at least I am likdy to vex thy soul in aoy way. 
And I am imholy, having slain my mother, but in 
another sense holy, as avenging my fethen Now let 
thine old age be banished out of the yray of our disooTUBe^ 
for it awes me from speaking ; and I will proceed on my 
path ; but even now I fear thy grey hairs. What ought 
I to haye done? For set twain against twain: my 
father indeed b^ot me, but thy daughter brought me 
forth, a field which received the seed from another ; but 
without a father there could never be a child ; I 
reckoned therefore that I should rather take the part of 
the first author of my birth, than hers, who undertook 
my nourishment. And thy daughter, I am ashamed to 
say my mother, with pri^te marriage rites and unchaste^ 
entered the bed of another : if I speak Ul of her, I shall 
convict myself; but nevertheless 1 will sa^ it. :^igis- 

* 545. fft for yi, P. to yex tine and thy soul. 

562—588.] ORESTES. 29 

thus was her secret husband in her house. Him I slew ; 
and besides I sacrificed my mother^ doing unholy deeds, 
but avenging my father. But as to what thou threatenest, 
that I ought to be stoned to death, hear how I am a 
benefactor to the whole of Greece ; for if women are to 
arrive at that pitch of audacity, to murder men, making 
their refuge in their children, hunting for pity by baring 
their breasts, it would be as nothing for them to destroy 
their husbands, having any charge against them that 
might happen. But I, by doing fearful deeds, as thou 
loudly affirmest, have put a stop to this custom. And 
with justice hating my mother I slew her, who betrayed 
her husband when absent in arms from his home, chief 
of the host in behalf of all Greece, and she kept not her 
bed undefiled ; and when she felt that she had sinned, 
not on herself did she impose the penalty, but that she 
might not suffer the penalty from her husband, she 
inflicted the punishment on my father, and slew him. 
In the name of the gods — at an unseemly time indeed 
have I made mention of the gods, when pleading the 
cause of blood — if then I had assented in silence to my 
mother s deeds, what would he who is dead have done 
to me ? Would not he, in anger, have scared me away 
with the furies ?* Or do the goddesses stand by my 
mother, indeed, as her allies, but stand not by him who 
has been more deeply injured ? Thou in sooth, by 
having begotten a wicked daughter, old man, hast 
destroyed me ; for through her audacity being deprived 
of a fother, I have become a matricide. See'st thou ? 
Telemachus slew not the wife of Odysseus ; for she 
married not one husband upon another, but remained in 
her house, an unpolluted bedfellow. See'st thou ? 
Apollo, he who inhabiting the seats of earth's navel 

30 ORESTES. ^589 — 618- 

imparts to mortals most unerring words, whom we obey 
in all whatever things he commands, obeying him I slew 
my mother. Deem him unholy, and slay him ; 'twas he 
who sinned, not I, What ought Tto do? Or is not 
the god of sufficient consideration for me, by transferring 
the pollution to him, to expiate ? Whither, then, will 
any one henceforth escape, if, having given the command, 
he shall not rescue me from death ? But say not that 
these deeds have not been done well, but that they have 
been done unhappily for us, the doers. For wedlock, to 
all of mortals among whom it is set on a good founda- 
tion, is a happy life ; but those to whom it turns out ill 
are unfortunate both at home and abroad. 

Chob. Women are bom ever to stand in the way of 
the fortunes of men, so as to turn them to misfortune. 

Tynd. Since thou bravest it out, and wilt not dis* 
semble in thy speech, but answerest me so as to vex my 
soul, thou wilt the more inflame * me to achieve thy 
death. And I shall deem this a goodly by work to the 
business on which I came, to bedeck my daughter's 
tomb. For having gone among the select body of the 
Argives I will set the city with its own good will, not 
reluctantly, upon thee and thy sister, that ye may su£fer 
the penalty of stoning.' But she is' more worthy* to 
die than thou, she who inflamed thee against thy mother, 
ever sending tales into thine ears to excite the more Ul 
will, narrating her mother's dreams concerning Aga- 

* 609. avd\j/iig P. quod re- will urge the city on, to inflict 

vocandum. Dind. — K dv^sig upon you the penalty" taking 

be retained I it roust be taken dovvai Sikijv not for pcenas 

transit., thou wilt incite : as the peodere but jus dare. Schole- 

simple at(r<ru) is used infr. 1429. field interprets, *' I will set the 

and Soph. Aj. 40. city upon you, for you and your 

^ 614. This is Elmsley*s in- sister to suffer etc.," 
terpretation. Person's is " I * 615. iira^ia. kar* d^ca. P. 

618—646.] ORESTES. 31 

memnon, and that bed she shared with iBgisthus — 
which may the gods below detest, for even there 'twas 
bitter — until she had set fire to the house with an 
illomened blaze. To thee, Menelaus, I say this, and 
moreover I will perform it : if thou makest of account my 
enmity and my alliance, defend not this man from death, 
in opposition to the gods ; but suffer him to be stoned to 
death by the citizens, or never set foot upon the land of 
Sparta. Having heard thus much, bear it in mind ; and do 
not, by rejecting more pious friends, prefer the impious. 
But lead me hence from this palace, my attendants. 

Ores. Get thee gone; that so my succeeding words 
may reach this man without interruption, having escaped 
thy old age. Menelaus, to what purpose dost thou pace 
round and round, in anxious thought, going the twofold 
path of double care. 

Men. Let me be; I am reflecting somewhat with 
myself, and I am at* a loss which way, under the cir- 
cumstances, I shall betake myself* 

Ores. Do not then bring your opinions to a conclusion, 
but having first heard my arguments, then deliberate. 

Men. Speak on ; for thou hast said well : there are 
cases where silence would be better than words, and 
others where words are better than silence. 

Ores. I will speak at once. That which is at length 
is better than short speeches, and more intelligible to 
hear. Do thou, Menelaus, give not to me anything of 
thine, but repay me what thou hast received, having 
received it from my father. I meant not wealth ; 'tis 
wealth, if thou save my life, which is the dearest to me 
of my possessions. Grant I am guilty of injustice ;^ in 

* 646. ddiKSt J P. Am I guilty of injustice ? 

32 ORESTES. £64,7 — 676. 

return for this evil I ought to gain at thy band scHne act 
of injastice; for Agamemnon my fiither also, haying 
contrary to justice gathered Greece together wmt against 
Ilium, not having sinned himself^ but striving to heal 
the sin and the injustice of thy wife. This then is one 
benefit which thou shouldest ^ve ma in return for one. 
And he gave up to thee in all sincerity his body (as 
friends should to friends), toiling under the shidd, that 
thou mightest regain thy yokefellow. Pay back to me 
then this same thing which thou didst then reoeive, by 
labouring in our behalf, standing up in our defence, for 
a single day, not fulfilling ten years. And the blood of 
my slaughtered sister, which Aulis received, I allow thee 
to keep that ; slay not thou Hermione. For when I am 
faring as now I fare, 'tis right that thou shouldest have 
the better of me, and I should pardon it. But give thou 
to my unhappy sire my life and my sister's, a virgin of 
many years ; for if I die I shall leave the house of my 
father childless. Thou wilt say,^ it is impossible : that 
is the very thing ; 'tis in misfortunes that friends ought 
to aid their friends: but when the deity gives prosperity, 
what need of friends ? for 'tis sufficient that the god 
himself is willing to assist us. Thou art thought by all 
the Greeks to love thy wife: (and this I say not 
insinuating myself into thy favour by flattery) by her I 
supplicate thee. O wretch that I am, by reason of my 
woes, to what a pitch have I arrived ! But why need I 
undergo trouble? For I offer these supplications in 
behalf of our whole bouse. O godlike brother of my 
sire, deem that he who is dead beneath the earth hears 
these words, hovering in spirit over thee, and that he 

• 665. iSvvarov j P. wilt thou saj etc. 1 

677—705.] ORESTES. 33 

says what I say. This have I said, as to tears and 
wailings and calamities ; and I have demanded of thee 
the preservation of my life, seeking for what not I only 
but all men desire. 

Chor. And I also, although a woman, yet neverthe- 
less I supplicate thee to give succour to those who seek 
it of thee ; and thou art able to do so. 

Men. Orestes, in sooth I respect thy person, and I am 
desirous to take part in thy troubles; for it is one's 
duty also to join thus in bearing the evils of one's kins- 
men, if the god grant the power, by dying oneself and 
by slaying their enemies. But, again, to have the 
power, I wish, by the aid of the gods, to obtain it ; for 
I have arrived hitherto with my spear destitute of allies, 
wandering in innumerable toils, with but a scanty powec 
of the friends who are left to me. In battle then we 
could not overcome Peksgian Argos; but if by soft 
words we could do so, then we come near some hope. 
For with scanty means of labour, how could any one get 
the mastery of what is mighty?'' 'tis foolish even to 
desire this. For when the commons are in the full 
prime of vigour, if they become enraged, 'tis like unto 
devouring fire, to extinguish ; but if any one, quietly 
yielding to the storm, voluntarily gives way to it as it 
sweeps on, watching his opportunity, perchance it may 
expend its violence ; and when it has remitted its gusts, 
thou mightest obtain from it easily all that thou desirest. 
And there is in it pity, >and there is vehement ire, a 
possession of greatest value to him who watches events. 
•But I will go and attempt, for thee, to persuade Tyn- 
dareus and the city, by treating them exceeding well. 

T 696. om. P. 

34, ORESTES. ^706 — ^730. 

For a ship, too, whose sail is kept tight by the sheet, 
dips in the waves, hut rights agsun, if any one slackens 
the cahle. For the god hates acts of excessive 2seal, and 
the citizens hate them ; and I must, I do not deny it, 
save thee by policy, not in the teeth of those ^who are 
stronger than I. But by force of arms, as thou perhaps 
fanciest, I could not preserve thy life ; for 'tis not easy 
with a single spear to erect a trophy over the evils 
which surround thee. For neyer yet have "we been 
wont to reduce the land of Argosby force^ to gentleness: 
now therefore 'tis necessary for the wise to be the sJaves 
of fortune.^ 

Ores. O thou, in all else good for nothing, save to 
lead an army for a woman's sake ! O thou most base 
ia succouring thy friends ! fliest thou me having tamed 
thy back upon me? but the remembrance of Agamemnon 
is vanished. Thou wast friendless, then, my father, 
when in adversity. Woe is me, I have been betrayed ; 
and I have no longer any hopes, betaking mys^ to 
which I may escape death at the hands of the Argives. 
For this man was my harbour of safety. Bat stay ! for 
I see here the dearest of mortals, Pylades, from the 
Phocians advancing with hurried speed, — delightfal 
sight ; for a faithful friend in adversity is better to look 
upon than a calm for seamen. 


I have come through the city speeding more hastily 
than I ought, having heard of an assembly of the citizens, 

8 Nunquam enim Arg^vam fi£<r0* dv nanquam. Argivis 

terrain, sc. Arg^vos, ad molli- adhiberem blanditias, nisi ne— 

tiem redigere solebamus, t. e. cessitas, cui sapientes cedunt 

vi subigere : tu igitur etc. — me cogeret." Schaefer. 

ScHOLEF. •Tie. Post hunc versum e 

Ibid. " Malim vpo<rfiy6- aceuk abit Menelaos. Dind. 

730—748.] ORESTES. 35 

and seeing it myself distinctly, conyened against' thee 
and thy sister, to put you to death straightway. What 
means this ? How art thou ? How farest thou, best 
beloved of mine equab in age, and of my friends ? for all 
these things art thou to me. 

Ores. We are lost, to teU thee our misfortunes briefly. 

Pyl. If so, thou wouldst ruin me with thee ; for the 
things of friends are in common. 

Orbs. Menelaus is most base towards me and my 

Ptl. 'Tis probable that the husband of a'base woman 
should become base. 

Ores. Having arrived hither, he hath shown me the 
same kindness as if he had never come. 

Pyl. Has he then indeed arrived in this land ? t 

Ores. After ik long time; but nevertheless most 
quickly hath he been discovered to be a base friend. 

Pyl. And hath he come bringing in his ship his wife, 
the vilest of women ? 

Ores. Tis not he who hath brought her hither, but 
she hinu 

Pyl. Where is she who, for one woman, destroyed so 
many of the Achseans ? 

Ores. In my house, if indeed I may call this mine 

Pyl. But thou, what words didst thou speak to thy 
father's brother ? 

Ores. That he should not see me and my sister slain 
by the citizens. 

Pyl. In the name of the gods, what said he to this ? 
for that I wish to know. 

Ores. He was cautious, as base friends act towaids. 
their friends. 

tn 3 

36 ORESTES. {y^9 — 764, 

Pyl. Proceeding to what pretext? For haying learned 
this, I know all. 

Ores. He came, the father who begat those most yir- 
tuous daughters. 

Pyl. Thou meanest T3mdareus. Incensed with thee, 
perchance, on account of his daughter. 

Ores. Thou perceivest right. This man s alliance he 
preferred to my father's. 

Pyl. And being present, did he not dare to take a 
part in thy troubles ? 

Ores. No ; for he was not bom to be a yrarrior, but 
brave only among women. 

Pyl. Thou art then in the greatest evil, and 'tis fated 
for thee to die. 

Ores. 'Tis determined that the citizens pass a vote 
concerning us, on the charge of murder. 

Pyl. Which shall determine what ? for I begin to be 

Ores. Either that we shall die, or live : the tale is not 
^ong though it be about lengthy matters. 

Pyl. Fly then, and leave the palace, together with 
thy sister. 

Ores. Seest thou not ? We are watched by guards in 
every quarter. 

Pyl. I saw the streets of the city hedged in with 

Ores. Our persons are beleaguered like a city by 

Pyl. ^ Ask me too, then, how I fare ; for I also am 

Orbs. By whom ? This would be an additional woe 
to my present ones. 

* 763. vvv, P. now. 

765—779.] ORESTBS. 37 

Pyl. My father Strophius has driven me forth from 
home an exile, being incensed with me. 

Ores. Bringing a private accusation or one in common 
with the citizens ? 

Ptl. Because I joined in committing the murder of 
thy mother ; alleging that it was impious. 

Ores. O wretched one, it seems that thou also wilt 
suffer the pain of my woes. 

Ptl. I am not of the disposition of Menelaus. I 
must bear this. 

Ores. Fearest thou not lest Argos should desire to slay 
thee, as me also ? 

Ptl. I belong not to them to punish, but to the land 
of the Phocians. 

Ores. A fearfal thing are the many, when they have 
villanous leaders. 

Pyl. But when they have obtained good ones, they 
always counsel well. 

Ores. Well — We must confer together. 

Pyl. Concerning what important matter ? 

Ores. If I were to go, and tell the citizens 

Pyl. That thou hast acted justly ? 

Ores. In avenging my own &ther ? 

Pyl. I fear that they vnll be glad to get hold< of 

Ores. But shall I die crouching down in silence ? 

Pyl. That were cowardly. 

Ores. How then might I act ? 

Pyl. Hast thou any means of safety if thou remainest 
here ? 

Ores. I have none. 

• 776. fij) oif Xdputci, P. They will never receive thee gradouslj. 

38 OEESTES. [^779 — 792. 

P YL. And is there any hope that by going thou mayest 
be preserved from evil ? 

Ores. If it so happened, there might be. 

Pyl. This therefore is better than to xemain heie. 

Ores. But shall I go then ? 

Pyl. However, if thou diest, thou wilt so die more 

Ores. And what I have done is at least just. 

Pyl. Only pray that it may seem so. 

Ores. Thou sayest well. In this way I escape the 
imputation of cowardice. 

Pyl. More so than by remaining here. 

Ores. And at least some might feel compassion for 

Pyl. Aye, for thy noble birth is a great thing. 

Ores. Troubled about the murder of my fiBither. 

Pyl. All this is ' before our eyes. 

Ores. I will go, for 'tis unmanly to die ingloriously. 

Pyl. This I approve of. 

Ores. Shall we tell it to my sister ? 

Pyl. Do not, by heaven ! 

Ores. There would be weeping, in sooth. 

Pyl. This, then, is a mighty omen. 

Ores. Evidently 'tis best to be silent. 

Pyl. And thou wilt gain by the time. 

Ores. That thing alone opposes me. 

Pyl. What new thing, again, is this thou tallest of ? 

Ores. Lest the goddesses possess me with tteozy. 

Pyl. But I will take care of thee. 

Ores. 'Tis dangerous to touch an insane num. 

Pyl. Not for me at least, to touch thee. 

' iv 6fJifAa<yi, cf. Soph. Trach. these things depend upon the 
240, etc.— But otherwise: all ejes. 

793—817.] ORESTES. 39 

Ores. Take care that thou share not my madness. 

Pyl. Let this pass, then. 

Ores. Thou wilt not hesitate, then ? 

Pyl. No; for hesitation among friends is a gre^t 

Ores. Proceed then, thou rudder of my foot. 

Pyl. Aye, and having a dear charge. 

Ores. And conduct me to the tomb of my father. 

Pyl. For what purpose, this ? 

Ores. That I may supplicate him to save me. 

Pyl. Aye, thus it is just for him to act. 

Ores. But may I not even behold the sepulchre of 
my mother ? 

Pyl. No, for she was an enemy. But press on, that 
the decree of the Argives may not oyertake thee first ; 
resting thy sides, that are heavy with sickness, upon my 
sides ; for I will carry thee through the city, little reck- 
ing of the multitude, and in no wise ashamed. For how 
shall I show myself to be a friend, if I shall not succour 
thee, who art involved in fearful calamities ? 

Ores. This is that proverb, "Get ye friends, not 
kindred only." For a man who has become identified 
with thy disposition, though a stranger by blood, is better 
to have as a friend than ten thousand brothers. 

The great prosperity of the sons of Atreus, and their 
valour, that was so proud throughout Hellas, and on 
the banks of Simois, hath long since been ebbing back 
from good fortune, after the ancient calamity of their 
house : whenever it was that strife for the golden fleeced 
lamb came upon the sons of Tantalus ; most woeful 
feastings, and slaughterings of noble children; whence 
murder succeeding murder, with bloodshed, fails not to 

40 ORESTES. C^IS 851. 

come upon the two sons of Atreus. That -v^hich was 
deemed honourable was not honourable, to mangle with 
iirebom instrument the flesh of the children, and to ex- 
hibit the sword black with gore before the beams of the 
sun. But again to do villany is frantic l^great P.^ im- 
piety, and the madness of evil-minded men. And in 
fear of death the wretched daughter of Tyndarens cried 
aloud ; ^' O my child, thou darest no holy deed in 
slaying thy mother ; do not, by respecting thy duty to 
thy sire, attach to thyself ignominy for ever." What 
pestilence, or what tears, or what sight of pity is there 
over the earth greater than the taking on one's bands 
the blood of a mother's murder ? Even so he, at least, 
having accomplished the deed, the son of Agamemnon, 
is possessed with frantic madness, a prey for slaughter 
to the Eumenides, reeling wildly, with rolling eyes. O 
wretched one, when having looked upon his mothei^s 
breast, rising out of her gold inwoven raiment, he 
slaughtered his mother, a requital for the sufierings of 
his sire. 


O women, has the wretched Orestes, as I suppose, 
rushed forth from this palace, overcome by madness sent 
by heaven ? 

Chor. By no means ; but he has gone to the assem- 
bly of the people of Argos, to undergo the appointed 
trial of his life, according to which ye are to live or die. 

Elec. Woe is me ! What has he done ? And who 
persuaded him? 

Chor. Pylades. But this messenger here, at no great 
distance, seems likely to bring thee the news thence 
concerning thy brother. 

852—878.] ORESTES. \ 41 


O wretched one, illfated child of Agamemnon, 
leader of the host, my lady, Electra, hear the unhappy 
tidings bearing which to thee I have come. 

Elec. Woe, woe ! We are lost. Thou sbow^t it by 
thy speech ; for thou hast come, as it seems, a messenger 

of in. 

Mess. It has been determined by a decree of the 
Pelasgians, that thy brother and thyself, O wretched 
one, die on this very day. 

Elec. Woe is me ! the expectation is verified, in 
which, fearing what was to come, I have long since been 
pining away in wailings. But what was the trial, what 
speeches among the Argives destroyed us, and confirmed 
our death ? Speak out, old man, whether is it by the 
hand armed with stones or with the sword that I must 
break off the breath of life, having met with the same 
calamitous fate as my brother. 

Mess. I chanced, indeed, to be entering the city 
gates from the country, wanting to inquire the news 
about thee and about Orestes ; for I ever entertained 
good will towards thy father, and thy house too used to 
support me, a poor man indeed, but to have dealings 
with, generous towards my friends. And I see a multi- 
tude advancing and seating themselves on the hill where 
they say Danaus first convened the people to sit in pub- 
lic assembly, when submitting his suit with -^gyptus to 
trial. And then in sooth, having seen the gathering, I 
asked one of the citizens, what news in Argos? It 
cannot be that any message from some enemy hath 
aroused the city of the sons of Danaus ? And he an- 
swered, See'st thou not Orestes there advancing towards 
us, who is about to undergo a trial for his life ? And 

42 ORESTES. £S79 — 910. 

then I behold an unlooked for sight, which Oh that I had 
never seen. Both Pylades and thy brother, advandng 
together, the latter indeed downcast and languid with 
sickness, but the other like a brother, enduring equal 
pain with his friend, tending his sickness with caiefiil 
service. But when the assembly of the Argives was full, 
a herald rose up and proclaimed, ^' Who wishes to give 
his opinion whether Orestes, h&ng a matricide, should 
be put to death or no ?*" — And after him there riaes up 
Talthybius, who aided thy sire in overthrov^ing the 
Phrygians ; and he being ever the slave of those who 
are in power, spake ambiguously ; thy father, indeed, 
lauding exceedingly, but not praising thy brother ; under 
a fair show, wilily uttering evil sentiments, ^^ How that 
he had established no good precedent towards parents ;* 
but ever he was showing a fawning fsLce to the friends of 
^gisthus. For such is the sort of them ; heralds ever 
rush to the side of the fortunate man ; and he is their 
friend, who has power in the city and is in office. And 
after him king Diomedes harangued them. He indeed 
was not for letting them slay either thee or thy brother, 
but that they should consult the interests of religion by 
punishing you with banishment. And some indeed 
applauded him, that he had spoken well, but others did 
not assent to him. And after these there rises up a 
certain man, an unceasing babbler, strong in impudence, 
an Argive who was not an Argive, but forced upon the 
citizenship, confident in clamour and untaught license of 
tongue, persuasive enough, moreover, to involve them 
[the citizens P.] in some evil action. For when a man 
sweet of speech, but with evil designs, can persuade the 
multitude, 'tis a great curse to the city : but all who, 
with good sense, give ever good counsel, these, if not 

910 — 941.] ORESTES. 43 

immediately, at some future time are useful to the state. 
And hy these rules, looking.upou a leader of the people, 
ought one to regard him : for it comes to the same thing 
for a man to be a public speaker and to hold an honour- 
able office. This man then gave his opinion that they 
should put to death Orestes and thyself by stoning : and 
T3mdareus suggested such arguments for him to utter, 
who was for slajdng you both. And another having 
risen up spoke in opposition to this one, in form indeed 
not comely, but a manly citizen, seldom polluting l^ his 
presence the city or the round Agora, a husbandman, 
one of those who alone preserve the land, but of under- 
standing sufficient to contend in argument with others, 
when he chooses ; a guileless man, who has led a life 
without reproach. And he proposed to give a crovm to 
Orestes the son of Agamemnon, who had been ready to 
avenge his father by slajdng a wicked and godless 
woman, who was depriving us of this, so that no one' 
would take arms in his hand nor go out to war, leaving 
his home, if those who remain behind seduce the women 
who stay at home, polluting men's wives. And to the 
honest citizens, at least, he seemed to speak wisely, and 
no one spake any more ; but thy brother came forward 
and said ; " ye who possess the land of Inachus,^ ^of 
old Pelasgi, but afterwards sons of Danaus] in your cause 
no less than in my fathers, I slew my mother. For if 
the murder of men is to be lawful among women, the 
sooner you die the better, or ye must be slaves to women. 
But ye will do the opposite of what ye ought to do ; for 
as it ii^, she who betrayed my father's bed has been 
slain; but if, in sooth, ye shall slay me, the law is 

* 933. om. P. 

44 0RRSTE8. Q942 — ^9^ 

lepetled, and the sooner ooe daea the better, anoe 
diuing at least there will bQ no lad^. But he did i 
peisnade the assembly, though seeming to speak we 
bat that yile man, in speaking before the iiiiiltitD< 
prevails, he who was haranguing them to day thy hroti 
and thee. But the wretched Orestes with diffiool 
prevailed on them that he Qye' P.^ might not die 1 
stoning ; but he promised on this 'very day to q«it 1 
with thee, in death inflicted by his own hand. A 
Pylades, in tears, conveys him away fixMn the sdi 
assembly; and his friends accompany him, wee|Hi 
pitying him ; and he approaches, a bitter spectacle a 
a woeful sight for thee. But make thon ready a kn 
or a halter for thy neck, f(»r thou must quit this light 
day ; and thy noble birth hath profited thee nothing, i 
even the Pythian Phoebus sitting on his tripod, but 
hath destroyed thee. 

Chor. O ill-fated virgin, how voiceless thon ai 
having cast to earth thy countenance enydoped in iK 
veil, as if thou vv^rt about to break forth into Iraientatioi 
and wailings. 

Elec. I commence a wailing, O Pelasgian land, fi™i 
my white nail in my cheeks, a misery drawing fort 
blood, and inflicting blows upon my head, a head whid 
the beauteous damsel, the goddess of the dead belo^ 
hath received as her portion. And let the land of thi 
Cyclops howl aloud for the woes of this house, applyini 
the knife to her head, shorn in token of mourning. Hen 
there comes pity, pity for the dead, those who were ono 
chieftains of the armies of Greece. For the whole rao 
of the children of Pelops has gone, has gone, is departed 
and the enviable lot which once rested upon their happj 
homes, ^was the envy of the gods that overthievi 

975—1012.]' ORESTES. 45 

them, and the malicious hloody decree passed in the 
city. Woe, woe ! ye tribes of mortab of a day, all 
tearfcd, full of labour, see to what unexpected results 
destiny proceeds. And men exchange, one taking one 
woe, and another another, in the length of time ; but 
the whole life of mortab is uncertun. Would that I 
could make my way to the rock that is hung hovering 
between earth and heaven, ^ the mass depending from 
Oljrmpus by chains of gold, borne about by whirlwinds, 
where with lamentations I would ciy aloud to Tantalus, 
my aged ancestor, who begot, who begot the fathers of 
my house ; those who witnessed deeds of woe, who wit- 
nessed indeed the winged flight of coursers in the four- 
horsed chariot : what time Pelops raced with ocean for 
the death of Myrtilus, by casting him into the billows 
of the sea, having urged his chariot near the Ckreestian 
shores white with waves, shores of the ocean surge. 
Whence upon my house there came a curse, cause of 
many a groan, what time was bom the deadly deadly 
prodigy, the golden-fleeced lamb, conceived by the art 
of the son of Maia among the flocks of Atreus, ^ breeder 
of horses ; from which both contention changed the 
course of the winged chariot of the sun, adapting his 
path to the westward of heaven, to the direction of 
monung of the single steed, and Jove alters the course of 
the Pleiad with its seven tracks, and gives deaths in 
exchange for their deaths, and brings on Thyestean feasts, 
named after Thyestes, and the bed of Cretan Aerope, 
crafty in treacherous adultery. And at last upon me 
and my brother it hath come, with the woeful Bsite of our 

» 982, seq.— Eleotra meant « 1000. lwiroP6r(u P. 
the Sun, cf. Forson. 

46 ORESTES. [1013 — 103 

Chor. And see, here comes thy brother who has hen 
condemned to death, and Pylades also the most &ithf 
of all men, 7 guiding his limbs weak with sickness^ wil 
careful foot his yokefellow. 

Elec. Woe is me ! For beholding thee before tl 
tomb, and hefore the funeral pile of the dead below, 
groan aloud, O my brother ! Woe is me verily an 
again I Of a truth taking this last look of thee fiuse i 
fiice, I have gone out of my mind. 


Wilt thou not, in silence, forsaking thjr -wanuaaa 
waitings, be content with what has been deseed ? Tbefl 
things are pitiable, but nevertheless we must of neoasii] 
bear the fortune that be&lls us. 

Elec. And how can I be mlent ? For we wxetdiei 
have no longer any share in looking upon this effhlgaiei 
of the god of light. 

Ores. Do not thou kill me ; I wretched have hem 
slain sufl&ciently hy the hand of Argos : but let our pre- 
sent woes alone. 

Elec. O thou, wretched for thy prime of yoatb, 
Orestes, and for thy fate and untimely death I thou 
shouldest have been living, when thou no longer ez- 

Ores. Do not, in the name of the gods, bring npon 
me the imputation of unmanliness, by prolonging thy tale 
of woe till it call forth tears. 

Elec. We are to die. It is not possible not to groan 
over our woes : for to all mortals the loss of their dear life 
is lamentable. 

"^ 1015-6, idvv(i)v.6pda)v, and Orestes, Elmsl. propoaes !£«;- 
poet «w\oi/,— 'OpIoTow. P.— 9vvwv, 
' supporting . etc. the limbs of 

1035— 1053.J OBESTES. 47 

Ores. This day it is appointed for us to die ; and we 
must either fix suspended nooses, or take a sharpened 
sword in our hands. 

Elbc. Do thou then, my brother, let not any of the 
Argives kill me, making a mock of the race of Aga- 

Ores. The blood of my mother is enough ; ^ and I 
will not kill thee. But die in whatever way thou wilt, 
inflicted by thine own hand. 

Elec. Thus it shall be : I will in no wise M of thy 
sword. But I wish to throw my arms aroimd thy 

Ores. Enjoy an empty gratification, if this be enjoy- 
ment, to embrace those who have approached near unto 

Elec. O thou best bdoved, that hast the same name 
with thy sister, long desired and most dear, and that hast 
one life with her. 

Ores. In sooth thou wilt melt me io tears ; and I 
long to answer thee in a loving embrace. For why do I 
wretched any longer feel shame ? O thou breast of my 
sister, O dear object of my embrace, these words are all 
we wretched have in place of children and the nuptial 

Elec.. Alas ! O that the same sword, if it be lawful, 
might slay us twain, and one sepulchre receive us, the 
workmani^p of the cedar tree ! ^ That would be most 
sweet. But seest thou, in sooth, how we are in lack of 

_9. alu* ix^' ok i*abK P. post v, 1056 pleni distin- 
crcvcu. P. ' I nave enouffh blood guit P. 
on my hands, the blood of my 1056-7. Electrm tribuit P. 
mother ; and th§e I will not {Knt v. 1057. intenogatvre die- 
slay.' — tinguit P. 

' 1054-5. Oresti tribuit. 1058-Hieq. Oresti trib. P. 

JP 3 

48 ORESTES. Q054 — 1078. 

friends, so as to share one tomb ? The vile MenelMis, the 
betrayer of my sire, spake not in thy behalf sealons that 
thou shonldest not die, he did not even aho^^ his ftoe^ 
but having his hopes fixed upon the soeptie, he was too 
wary to save his friends. But come, let us die, haTing 
acted nobly, and most worthily of Agamenmon. And I 
indeed will demonstrate to the city my noble birth, by 
striking myself to the heart with a swprd : and 'tis thy 
part, again, to act up to my deeds of hardihood. But 
do thou, Pylades, be the umpire of our deaths, >and caie- 
f ully lay out the bodies of us twain when dead, and bury 
us together, bearing us to the tomb of our father. And 
farewell : for I am going, as thou seest, to do the fiital 


Hold I In the first place I have one complaint against 
thee, if thou didst expect that I should wish to live^ 
when thou wast dead. 

Ores. Why, how does it belong to thee to die with 

Pyl. Didst thou ask ? why, how to live, without thy 
company ? 

Ores. Thou didst not slay thy mother, as I wretched 
have done. 

Pyl. 1 Yea, but in common with thee I slew her; and 
I ought to suffer the same fate. 

Ores. Restore th3rself to thy sire, die not with me. 
For thou indeed hast a country, but I have none now, 
and thou hast a father's home and a mighty harbour of 
wealth. But thou hast foiled of thy marriage with this 

^ 1074b 9iv (Toi ye* Koivy I slew her : and I oueht to suf- 
ravra. P. ' Yea, but with thee fer these things with toee.* 

1079—1104.] ORESTES. 4,9 

illfated one here, whom I betrothed to thee, reverencing 
the ties of friendship. But do thou take another wife 
and beget thee children, but the alliance between me and 
thee exists no longer. But O thou my much loved 
comrade, fare thee well : for that is no longer our lot, but 
nevertheless it is thine. For we, the dead, are berefb of 
faring well. 

Pyl. Verily thou hast fallen far short of my 
intentions. Hay neither the fruitful plain receive my 
blood, nor the clear ether, if ever I forsake thee, betray- 
ing thee by freeing myself. For I both joined in the 
slaying, I will not deny it, and I devised all the plans for 
which thou art now paying the penalty; and therefore 
I am bound to die together with thee and with this 
damsel here. For I consider her mine own wife, in- 
asmuch as I agreed to marry her ; for what honourable 
sentiment shall I ever utter when I have arrived at the 
land of Delphi, the citadel of the Phocians, I who, before 
you were unfortunate, stood by you as a fnend, but now 
am no longer thy friend when in misfortune ? It cannot 
be so, but these matters are my business also. But 
since we are to die, let us take counsel togetlier how 
Menelaus also may partake of our misfortune. 

Ores. O best beloved, would that I might see that 
before I die ! 

Pyl. Take my advice then and delay the stroke of 
the sword. 

Ores. I will delay, if I shall inflict any vengeance on 
mine enemy. 

Pyl. Hush, then ; for I put little confidence in wo- 

Ores. Have no fear of these; for they stand l^ ua 
as friends. 

50 OBBBTEB. fll05— 1120. 

Ptl. Let ns slay Helen, which will be m bitteir grief 
to Menelans. 

Ores. How ? For there is leadineasenoiigii, if atleut 
it is to be done honouiably. 

Ptl. By catting her throat. And she is oonceiki 
within thy house. 

Ores. Assuredly ; and in sooth she is setting a sell 
upon every thing. 

Ptl. But no longer shall she, when die has leoeived 
Hades for a bridegroom. 

Ores. And how shall we do it ? For she has har^ 
barian attendants. 

Pyl. Whom? for I would fear none of the Fhiy- 

Ores. Such as preside over mirrors and per£iune& 

Pyl. What — hath she come hither with Tiojan 
luxuries ? 

Ores. So that Hellas is but a scanty dwelling for 

Ptl. The servile race is nothing in comparison with 
the free. 

Ores. And verily having done thb deed I ^ shrink 
not from a double death. 

Pyl. Nor yet in sooth do I, at least avenging thee. 

Ores. Make the matter clear, and conclude thy pla«^ 
as thou art telling it. 

Pyl. Let us enter the palace, as if, forsooth, about to 
suffer death. 

Ores. So much I understand, but what remains I 
perceive not. 

* 1 116. 0^ X&^fMi. Ehnal. ciZontu, I liatr not. 
ad Heraol. 600, proposes oi/x 

1121 — 1144.^ ORESTES. 51 

Pyl. We will bewail to her the fate we are suf- 

Ores. Aye, so that she will shed tears, being over- 
joyed at heart. 

Pyl. We two also will experience that, just as she 
will then. 

Ores. Then how shall we accomplish the struggle ? 

Pyl. We will have swords hidden under these robes. 

Ores. But how shall we slaughter the attendants 

Pyl. We will shut them out of the palace, one at one 
place and another at another. 

Ores. Aye, and him who is not silent we must 

Pyl. Then the deed itself points out how we must 

Ores. To murder Helen. I understand the hint. 

Pyl. Thou hast perceived it ; but hear how I will ad- 
vise. For if indeed we should have let loose our swords 
upon a more virtuous woman, the murder would have 
been infamous : but as it is, she will suffer punishment 
in behalf of universal Hellas, of those whose sires she 
slew, and whose children she destroyed and whose brides 
she bereft of their yokefellows. There will be a cry of 
joy, and they will kindle fire to the gods, invoking many 
blessings on thee and me to receive, because we shed the 
blood of a vile woman. And thou wilt no longer be 
called the matricide, when thou hast slain her, but for- 
saking that name thou wilt change for the better, being 
termed the slayer of Helen the slayer of many. Never 
ought, never ought Menelaus to be prospering, but thy 
father and thyself and thy sister to be dead, and thy mother 

52 OBE8TE8. fl 145—1174. 

also— that I pass by, for 'tis not seemly to Bjpcak. of— 
and he to possess thy home, having gained his wife hy 
the spear of Agamemnon. For may I live no loogeri if 
I draw not forth the dark sword against her. Bat then, 
if we accomplish not the. death of Helen, haTing find 
this palace we shall die. For by sncceeding in one of 
these things we win glory, either in dying nobly, or in 
being nobly preserved. 

Chor. The daughter of Tyndarens is worthy for all 
women to detest her, she who has disgraced her sex. 

Ores. Alas! Therf is nothing better than a true 
friend, not wealth, not dominion ; and the mukitade is 
a thing not be counted in exchange for a noble friend. 
For thou didst both devise the evils which fell upon 
iEgisthus, and didst stand by my side in the midst of 
perils, and now again thou givest me revenge upcm mine 
enemies, and desertest me not. I will cease praising thee, 
for there is something disagreeable even in this, to be 
excessively praised. But I by all means, while I brealhe 
forth mine own life, wish to die having done some deed 
upon my foes, that ' we may destroy in return those who 
have betrayed me, and those same may groan who have 
rendered me wretched* I in sooth was born the son of 
Agamemnon, who ruled over Greece; being deemed 
worthy to rule, not as a tyrant ; but nevertheless he had 
strength like as of a god. And him I will not di^iaoe 
by dying the death of a slave, but like a free man I vnll 
surrender life, and will avenge me on Menelaus. For if 
we might obtain any thing, we should be fortunate ; if 
from some quarter an unexpected means of safety should 
befall, when we have inflicted death, not having died our* 

' 1165. AvravaXuKfia /ikv. P. That I indeed may etc. 

1174—1195.] ORESTES. 53 

selves : for these things I pray. For ^ it is sweet even 
through the mouth by winged words, without cost to 
gratify the imagination vdth that which I desire. 

Elec. I, my brother, think that I possess this very 
thing, the means of safety for thee and this man and in 
the third place, for myself. 

Ores. Tis a divine providence thou speakest ot But 
where is this? for I know that good sense at least 
resides in thy mind.. 

Elec. Well then, listen; and do thou incline thy 
attention hither. 

Ores. Speak on ; for to be likely to meet with good 
fortune confers some pleasure.^ 

Elec. Knowest thou the daughter of Helen? I 
have asked thee, who knowest her. 

Ores. I do know her, Hermione whom my mother 

Elec. She has gone to the tomb of Clyteemnestra. 

Ores. To do what ? what hope dost thou suggest ? 

Elec. To pour out libations over our mother's tomb. 

Ores. Well, and pray how does this that thou hast 
said tend to our preservation ? 

Elec. Seize her as a hostage, when she returns again. 

Ores. A remedy against what, for us three friends is 
this thou hast said ? 

Elec. When Helen is dead, if Menelaus attempt to 
do any thing to thee, or to this man and myself, inas- 
much as this trio of friends are all one, say that thou 
wilt slay Hermione : and having drawn thy sword thou 

* 1176. Constmctio est ij^d ac si dixisset, 8 PoiXofiai yAo, 
y&p IffTi Kal did <tt» irr. /i. rovro xai Sid (rrSna ix^iv i^ov 
a^.rlpif'ai ippkva Ixiiw^ hfiov- Itrriv, Matth. 
Xo/iac : qaoa aensa eodem redit ' 1182. /ilXXciv go. wp&<re(tv. 


54 ORESTES. [1 1 95—1220. 

must hold it to the very throat of the Tugin. And if 
indeed Menelaus preserves thy life, not wishing hb 
daughter to die, when he has seen the corpse of Hdeo 
weltering in her gore, then let go the vir^ for her 
father to hold. But if^ not mastering his farious pride, 
he strive to slay thee, do thou also cut the throat of the 
virgin. And I conceive that he, if he be at first very 
violent, in time will appease the wrath of his heart : £n 
by nature he is neither daring nor warlike* This bul- 
wark of safety I have for us : my speech is said. 

Ores. O thou that hast the understanding of a man, 
but a form eminently beautiful among women, how 
much more worthy art thou to live than to die! 
Pylades, surely thou wilt not miss of such a wife as 
this, O unhappy one,^ the blessing of whose bed thoa 
wilt obtain, living ? 

Ptl. Oh that it might be so, and she might come to 
the city of the Phocians, honoured with noble nmptials! 

Ores. And in what time will Hermione return to the 
palace? For in all else, at least, thou hast q>oken 
admirably, if^ as I deem, we shall be fortunate, having 
caught the whelp of an impious sire. 

Elec. In sooth, I think she must be now near the 
palace ; for the length of the time itself agrees. 

Ores. 'Tis well Do thou then, my sister Eleotra, 
remaining before the house, await the approach of the 
virgin. And be on the watch, in case any one, mther 
some friend, or our father s brother, succeed in entering 
the palace before the murder has been accomplished; 
and proclaim it within the house, either by beating 
against the door or sending words within. But let us, 

^ 1208. jc* V P* " ^' living wilt thou gain the blessing of her 

1221 — 1244.] ORESTES. 55 

Pylades, going within arm our bands with the sword for 
the fatal conflict ; for thou in sooth art the partaker of 
my toils. O my father, thou who inhabitest the halls 
of murky night, Orestes thy son invokes thee to come to 
the succour of us who are in need. Because for thy sake 
I wretched unjustly suflFer : and I have been betrayed by 
thy brother, having done just deeds : and his wife I 
wish to take and slay : but do thou become our accom- 
plice in this. 

Elec. O my father, come then, if thou beneath the 
earth hearest thy children calling on thee, who are dying 
in thy cause ! 

Pyl. O Agamemnon,^ kinsman of my father, hear 
my prayers also, save thy children ! 

Ores. I slew my mother. 

Pyl. ^ut I laid hold on the sword. 

Elec. And I at least urged ye on, and freed ye from 

Succouring thee, my father — 

Elec. But neither did I betray thee — 

Pyl. 8Wherefore,hearing these reproaches, rescue these 
thy children. 

Ores. I pour over thee a libation of tears. 

Elec. And I, at least, of lamentations. 

Pyl. Cease, and let us proceed to action. For if, as 
I deem, prayers pierce within the Earth, he hears. Bat 
thou, Jove my progenitor, and thou awful justice, grant 
to this man and to me and this damsel here to be for- 

■^ 1242. (Tvyykvtia, Pjladea* • 1238. ovkovv — p^ffti rl- 

motber was Anaxibia, sister to xva ; P. Wilt thou not then 

Agameranon. Pausan. ii. 29. 4. &c. ? 


56 ORESTES. QI 245— 1271. 

tmiate ; for we three friends have one trial, one csuse; 
we are bound either all to live or all to die. 

Elec. O ye loved of Mycenee, the chief in dignity I 
in the Pelasgian seat of the Ar^ves — 

Chob. What speech dost then ntter, my lady? fo 
this distinction yet remains to thee in the iAty of the son 
of Danaus. 

Elec. Stand some of je on this chariot road ; but the 
others on another path, to guard the palace. 

CflOB. But why dost thou charge me vrith this <rf&oe? 
Tell me, my friend. 

Elec. A fear possesses me lest some one standing netr 
the palace should moreover discover the mordenms 
bloodshedding, woes upon woes. 

Semich. a. Haste ye; let us press on; I then wiH 
guard this path, the one towards the sun's rays. 

Semich. B. And see, I will guard this which leads to 
the west. 

Elec Turn, then, the pupils of your eyes sideway, 
now in one direction, now in another, then again the 
contrary way.O 

Semich. We are as thou tellest us. 

Elec. Turn your eyes around, then, casting * your 
glances in every direction through your ringlets. 

Semich. B. Who is this ^ that appears on the road ? 
What rustic man is this who wanders near thy home ? 

Elec. We are lost then my friends; he will 

'1262. lira TraXtvffKOfriav. Tpvx^v irdvry.P, — i. «. "Now 
elr' iir* dXKriv (rcoTriav. P. then turn your eyes about with re- 
in aaother direction — volving eyeballs, glance through 

' 1266-7. k\iffff6Tt vvv pKi' your ringlets etc. — 
ipapa KdpaiiTif diSoTt M |3o<r- * 1269. r/>^y pavrdZiTcu.^. 

1272—1302.] ORESTES. 57 

straightway betray to our foes the fierce hidden swords- 

Semich. B. Fear not ; the path is empty, O beloved 
one, which thou thinkest is not so. 

Elec. What ? but thy part, I pray, does that still 
remain secure ? give me some good news, as to whether 
these parts before the court are imdisturbed ? 

Semich. A. All here at least is well; but look to 
thine own side ; for no one of the race of Danaus is 
drawing near to us. 

Semich. B. Thou hast come to the same point as 
myself : for neither here is there any crowd. 

Elec. Come now, let me listen at the gates. Why do 
ye delay, ye within the house, in quiet, to shed the red 
blood of the victim ? They do not hear : O wretched 
me for my woes! Surely their swords cannot have 
been dulled at her beauty ? Perchance some Argive in 
full panoply rushing forth v^ll reach the palace with 
succouring foot. Take better counsel then ; this is no 

time to sit still. But do ye wheel round, some in one 

direction, and^the others in another. 

Chor. Looking in every direction I exchange my 

Helen, (within) Ho ! Pelasgian Argos ! I am 
perishing vilely. 

Elec. Heard ye ? the men have their hands engaged 
in bloodshed : that is the wail of Helen, to conjecture. 

Chor. O eternal might of Jove, of Jove, come thou 
to the succour of my friends by all means. 

Hel. Menelaus, I am perishing, and thou, though 
near, aidest me not. 

Elec. Slaughter her, kill her, strike her, destroy her, 
thrusting from your hands two fold two-edged swords ; 

58 OBESTBS. [1303— 132a 

her, the forsaken of her ure, the forsaken of her hufilmd, 
who slew so many of the Greeks ; those who were sfaii 
with the spear on the banks of that river where iean 
mingled with tears, who were slain with javelins of im 
near the whirlpools of Scamander. 

Chor. Be silent, be silent. I heard a sound as of ok 
entering upon the road near the palace. 

Elec. O women most beloved, here appears Hennkoe 
in the midst of the murder. Let us stop our crj. Foe 
she advances, having fallen into the nooses of a net 
The prize will be a rich one, if it be caught. Take yooi 
stations again with composed countenances, and with 
colour that gives no hint of what has passed. I ako 
will keep the expression of mine eyes gloomy, as if in 
sooth not knowing the deeds which have been wroogiit 
O virgin, thou hast come having bedecked with fiUets 
the tomb of ClytGemnestra, and having poured forth 
libations for those below.^ 


I have come, having found fiftvour. But a sort of 
alarm came upon me, as to what cry I heard in the 
house, being yet far from the palace. 

Elec. What ? Things befall us worthy of lamoita- 

Her. Use no inauspicious words. But what fiesh 
event dost thou mean ? 

Elec. It has seemed good to this land that Orestes 
and I should die. 

Her. Nay, say not so, for ye are by birth my kins- 

' 1322. — interrog. distinguit. Ibid. v£pr«poig. P. 
P. ** Hast thou come, etc.7" — 

1330 — 1351.^ ORESTES. 59 

Elec. It is fixed ; and we are come under the yoke 
of necessity. 

Her. Was it then for this cause also that there was a 
cry of wailing in the palace ? 

Elec. Aye, for falling a suppliant before the knees of 
Helen, he beseeches her 

Her. Who ? For I know no more than before, unless 
thou tell me. 

Elec. The wretched Orestes, that he may not die, and 
in my behalf also. 

Her. With ^ sufficient grounds then, in sooth, the 
house resounds with illomened cries. 

Elec. For concerning what other matter might one 
rather cry aloud ? But come, and take part with thy 
friends in supplication, falling before thy mother so 
greatly prosperous, that Menelaus may not suffer us to 
die. But O thou who wast nurtured in my mother's 
arras, pity us and relieve us of our woes ; come hither 
to the trial, and I will lead the way. For thou alone 
hast come to us as a goal of safety. 

Her. See, I urge on my steps unto the palace ; be 
ye preserved, at least as much as lies in my power. 

Elec. O ye, my beloved swordsmen within the 
palace, will ye not clutch your prey ? 

Her. Woe is me ! who are these whom I behold ? 


Thou must be silent. For thou hast come to preserve 
us, not thyself. 

Elec. Seize her, seize her, and pointing a sword to her 
throat, keep still, that Menelaus may know this, that 
having found men, not vile Phrygians, he hath fared as 

* 1335. d^ioKTi y' &p\ P. ** at least, then"— 
to 3 

60 OBBBTES. [1352—1381 

the baae deaenre to hie* Ho ! my firitindd^ ho ! niK i 
din, a din and a cry, before the palace;, that the mnids 
which hath been done may not strike Cearfiil aknn npoi 
the Argives, so that they nm to the suooour to theiojil 
abode, before I shall have seen for oertain the alaiigfaiaed 
Helen lying steeped in gore in the houae^ or else hdan 
we shall have heard news from some one of the attend- 
ants. For part of what has occurred I know, bat tke 
rest not surely. 

Chor. With justice hath fallen the vengeanoe of the 
gods upon Helen. For she filled all HeUas with tens, 
on account of the pernicious, the peomiciooa Idcu 
Paris, who brought Hellas against Dimiu But besikBt, 
for the bars of the royal halls give forth a soond : some 
one of the Phrygians issuing forth, from whom we dull 
hear how ^ matters stand in the palace. 


Escaping death, I have fled an Argive sword, in bar- 
barian slippers, out of well-dosed chambers, inlaid with 
cedar, and Dorian triglyphs, in flight, inflight, O earth, 
earth, with barbarian speed. Woe ! Woe ! where maj 
1 escape, O strangers, flying up to the dear ether, or to 
the sea, rolling whose waves along bull-visaged ocean 
encircles earth with his arms ? 

Chor. What is it, O attendant of Helen, man of 

Phryo. Ilium ! Ilium ! woe is me, woe is me ! 
fertile citadel of the Phrygians, holy mount of Ida, how 
do I lament for thy fall, lament in the chariot-strain, 

^ 1369. Ceteram de tot& h&c poeta ut barbaro suaa com ma- 

scea& obserrandum est, plura rum, turn qu&dam ex parte lin- 

esse parum eleganter scripta in guae quoque, reserraret pro- 

quibus id qusBfiiyisse yidetur prietates. Scfaolefield. 

1385—1415.] ORESTES. 61 

the chariot -strain, ^ with barbarian cry : for thee who 
didst fall through the swan-begotten, swan-feathered eye^ 
of the beauty of Leda's daughter pernicious ^ Helen, 
an eye that was the fury of the well polished citadel of 
Troy, built by Apollo. Alas, Alas ! for woeful woeful 
things ! O land of Dardanus, illfated in the horseman- 
ship 9 of Ganymedes, the sharer of the bed of Jove. 

Chor. Tell us clearly each circumstance that has 
occurred within the palace. For what thou saidst before 
1 cannot well understand by conjecture. 

Phryg. Barbarians sing woe ! woe ! for Linus ! the 
commencement of the deathsong, alas alas ! in Asiatic 
tongue, when the blood of kings has been poured forth 
upon the earth with the steel swords of Hades. There 
came unto the palace, that I may tell thee every circum- 
stance, two twin Grecian lions : of the one, the father 
was celebrated as the chieftain of the host; but the 
other was the son of Strophius, a deviser ^ of evil, even 
as Odysseus, crafty in silence ; but &ithful to his friends, 
daring in fight, skilled in war, and a bloodthirsty serpent. 
May he perish, for his silent craftiness ! for he is a doer 
of evil. They then having entered within, up to the 
seat of the woman whom the archer Paris had to wife, 
with their faces besmeared with tears, sat down humbly 
one on one side and the other on the other, guarded in 
every direction. And they both cast, they cast their 
hands in supplication around the knees of Helen. And 

* 1385. apii&Tiiov — apfid- daughter. 

Tfiov t6v Qpiivov Xkyovffiv ® 1388. dvtrtXkvag bis. P. 

flvai 8v liroiriffav lire rtf ' 1393. iirirovvva, P. the 

*'£fcropi iXfco/ulv^ ^id tov &p^ horseman Ganymedes ; Dor. 

fiaroc*— >ScH. gen. from I'trirotrvvric (dub.) 

7 1387. Sid t6 rdQ^KVKvo- » 1403. raic^^^nc. P. 
nripov, P. of the swanfeathered 

02 OHESTES. (^1416—1459. 

the attendant Phiygians hastily leaped up ; and, hebg 
alanned, one spake with another, lest theie should h 
some treacheiy. And to some indeed it seemed not n, 
but to others the matricidal serpent appeared to k 
encircling the daughter of Tjmdareos in a conmii|^ 
devised net. 

Ohor. And whfere wast thoa then, or befoie tint 
wast thou flying in terror ? 

Phryo. I chanced, after the Phrygian, the Phij- 
gian manner, to be stirring the breeae, the bvB6B» 
by the ringlets of Helen, of Helen, with a well wzong^ 
fan of feathers, before her cheek, after the baibtiia 
fashion. But she wbs spinning thread on a ^indle with 
her fingers, desiring to work with thread omamenta Ibr 
a tomb out of the Phrygian spoils, purple garmentB, 
gifts for Clytsemnestra. But Orestes thus addresBed 
the Laconian damsel. O daughter of Jove, set thy foot 
to the ground, retiring from this couch, to the seat of the 
ancient hearth of my forefather Pelops, that thou may- 
est hear my words. And he leads her, he leads her away; 
she followed, not foreseeing what she was about to soflcr ; 
but his accomplice the vile Phocian, having come, was 
busy with other matters '^ Will ye not hence, but aie 
Phrygians always vile V* and he shut us out of the house, 
one at one place and another at another : some indeed 
in the stables of the horses, and others in opm chamberB^ 
and others in various places, arranging so that one should 
be here, another there, afar off from their mistress. 

Ohor. What event occurred upon this ? 

Phryg. mother, Idesan mother I mighty one, mighty 
one ! alas for the murderous deeds of woe, and the law- 
less crimes which I beheld, I beheld, in the halls of 
princes! Having drawn forth swords in their hands 

i 1460—1489.] ORESTES. 63 

i from under their purple garments, in secret, they rolled 

i itke\r eyes around, one in one direction, another in another, 

I lest some one should chance to be present. And like 

I wild boars of the mountain, standing before the woman, 

I they address her. " Thou shalt die, thou shalt die, thy 

base husband slays thee, having betrayed the seed of his 

brother to death, in Argos. But she cried aloud, cried 

aloud, woe is me, woe is me. And striking her white 

ann against her breast, she inflicted a blow upon her 

miserable head ; and in flight, she hurried with swift 

foot the tread of her golden sandals. But Orestes having 

thrust his hand among her locks, advancing his Mycenian 

shoe, having bent back her neck over her left shoulder, 

was'about to strike his dark sword into her throat. 

Ohor. What * succour then did the Phrygians within 
the palace afford ? 

Phryg. With a shout, having broken open with 
levers the doors and the stables where we were staying, 
we run to the rescue, one from one part, another from 
another, of the house ; one indeed having stones, and 
another javelins, and a third a drawn sword, in his hand. 
But there came to meet us Pylades, midaunted, even as 
Hector, or Aias of the triple plume whom I saw, whom 
I saw in the gates of Priam. And we crossed the points 
of our swords. Then in sooth, then the Phrygians were 
conspicuous, how much inferior we were to the Grecian 
spear in the encounter of Mars. One indeed havii^ fled 
away, and another being a corpse, and a third suffering a 
wound, and a fourth praying for a defence against death. 
And we fled into concealment ; but some were falling 
slain, and others were on the point of it, and others were 

' 1472. Constiraotion irov rov Soph. (£d. Col. 335. ol d' a{>96' 
iLiivvHv iffjav oi «. or. 0p. j cf. fiaifjtoi irov vedvicu iroviiv \ 

64 ORESTES. Q1489 — 1511. 

Ijing dead. But the wretched Hennione came to the 
palace upon the blood of her mother that bedewed the 
ground, her illfated mother who brought her forth. 
And like Bacchanals, but with no Th3n:sus, they tmk 
rushing upon her clutched her in their hands like a whdp 
on the mountains; and returning back again tbej 
designed slaughter ' to the daughter of Jove. But die 
had vanished from the chamber through the walls of ^ 
palace, O Jove and Earth and light and night ! &&a 
by means of drugs or the arts of magicians, or bong 
conveyed away by the gods. But what followed I know 
not any more; for I stole away in flight from the palaoei 
But Menelaus having endured the suffering of many 
many toils, to little profit hath recovered from Tioy 
Helen his bride. 

Chor. But see here, novelty succeeds novelty; fori 
see Orestes sword in hand advancing in front of the 
palace with winged foot. 


Where is he who has fled from my sword out of the 
palace ? 

Phryg. I worship thee, Oking, Ming before thee in 
barbarian fashion. 

Ores. This is not in Ilium but in the land of Aigos. 

Phryo. Everywhere, to the prudent 'tis sweet raUier 
to live tlian to die. 

Ores. Didst thou not raise a clamour, * for the 
Argives to come to the succour of Menelaus ? 

Phryg. Not I, but that they should help thee ; for 
thou art more worthy. 

' 1494. iiri, Scribendum iiri, * Otherwise, for Mendau to 

Dind. iwi, P. proceeded to the come to the rescue— cf. 614. 
slaughter, agaioat etc. Scholefield. 

1512—1528.] ORESTES. 65 

Ores. As it seems, the daughter of Tyndareus pe- 
rished justly ? 

Phryg. Most justly, even if she had had three throats 
so as to die thrice. 

Ores. Thou art courtmg me with cowardly tongue, 
not thinking so in thy heart. 

Phryg. Why, has she not justly perished who ruined 
Hellas and the Phrygians also ? 

Ores. Swear, or if not I will slay thee, that thou 
art not speaking to pleasure me. 

Phryg. I have sworn by mine own soul, with regard 
to which I should not forswear myself. 

Ores. In Troy also, was the sword such an object of 
dread to all the Phrygians ? 

Phryg. Keep away thy sword ; for if near it reflects 
fearful bloodshed. 

Ores. Fearest thou lest thou become a stone, having 
looked, as it were, upon a Gorgon ? 

Phryg. Nay, but a corpse rather. But the Gorgon I 
know not. 

Ores. Being a slave, dost thou fear Hades, who will 
free thee from woe ? 

Phryg. Every man, even if he be a slave, feels 
pleasure in beholding the light of day. 

Ores. Thou sayest well ; thy ready wit saves thee ; 
but go within the palace. 

Phryg. Wilt thou not slay me, then ? 

Ores. Thou art spared. 

Phryg. This is good tidings that thou tellest. 

Ores. But I will change my intention. 

Phryg. This thou sayest not well. 

Ores. Fool, if thou thinkest that I would condescend 
to stain thy neck with blood. For thou wast not bom 

OG ORESTES. p529 — 1551. 

a woman, Dor yet art thou among men. Bui I cuk 
forth from the palace that thou mightest not set up » 
shouting : for Argos when it hears a cry is resdilf 
aroused. But we have no fear of * catching Menebuu 
within reach of the sword ; but let him go, exulting in 
his yellow locks curling over his shonldeis. Fat i( 
taking the Argives, he shall bring them against this 
house, avenging the murder of Helen, and will not save 
me and my sister and Pylades who is my accomplice in 
these deeds, he shall see both the virgin and his wife two 

CnoR. O fortune, fortune, into another conflict, another 
again, and a fearful one as regards the sons of Atieos 
this house is falling. 

Semich. A. What are we to do? ought we to an- 
nounce these things to the city ? or to preserve them in 
silence ? 

Semich. B. That is more safe, my friends. 

Semich. A. See before the palace, see, this smoke 
liastening up into the air is the herald of the future. 

Semich. B. They are kindling torches, to fire the house 
of Tantalus, and desist not from blood.^ 

OnoR. The Deity has rule over the result, has rule 
over the result for mortals, to e£Eect it in whatever w»y 
he wills. And great ^ is the power : through an aveng- 
ing deity these halls have fallen, have fallen, in blood- 
shed, by reason of the casting of Myrtilus from out the 

car. ^But lo, I see Menelaus also here near the palace, 

vvith hasty step advancing, having heard, I suppose, the 
misfortune which now environs him. Ye cannot be too 
speedy in closing the bolts with bars, O ye children of 

* 1545 — 8. Semich. trib. P. Ibid, ^i dXaardpktv. P. 

« 1647. & om. P. 

J 1552—1578.] ORESTES. 67 

\ Atreus who are within the house. A fearful thing is a 
I prosperous man, against those who are unfortunate, as 
thou, Orestes, now sufferest misfortune. 


I am come hearing of the fearful and violent deeds of 
the two lions ; for two men I call them not. For I have 
heard, in sooth, concerning my yokefellow, that she is 
not dead, but has vanished away ; hearing an empty 
rumour, which some one reported to me, who was 
deceived by fear. But these are the contrivances of the 
matricide and are highly ridiculous. Let some one open 
the door of the palace ; I order ray attendants to force 
open these portals, that at least we may rescue my 
daughter from the hands of bloodstained men, and may 
recover my illfated wretched wife; with whom those 
must die by my hand who have slain my yokefellow. 


Ho thou, touch not these bolts with thy hand ! Thee 
Menelaus I meant, who art lifted on high with inso- 
lence : or I will crush thy head with this coping stone, 
having broken off an ancient cornice, the labour of the 
mason. And the bolts are fastened with bars, and they 
will restrain thee from thy zealous succour, so that thou 
shalt not pass into the house. 

Men. Ha, what is this ? I see the light of torches 
and these defending themselves on the top of the palace, 
and a sword awaiting my daughter's throat. 

Ores. Wishest thou to ask questions, or to hear me 
speak 7 

Men. Neither of the two. But I must, as it seems, 
hear thee. 

Ores. I am about to slay thy daughter, if thou 
desirest to know. 

SS osiSTXEL [1579—1594. 

Me3, HaTing maidexed Hden, ait thoa committiiif 
muider upon mixidar ? 

Ores. Wonld that I now had hotd of her and had 
not been dieated of ha bj the gods ! 

Bf£:f . Dost thou deny that thoa hast slain her, and 
savest thoa these things to iosoh me? 

Ores. I do, with pain : For O that I had — 

Men. Done what ? For thoa tendfiest me. 

Ores. Cast the ^ poQoter of Gieeee mto the reahn of 

Mex. Restore me the corpse of my wife that I may 
cover her with a tomb. 

Ores. Demand her of the gods; hot thy danghter I 
will slaj. 

Men. The matricide is committing morder npoD 

Ores. The avenger of hb fij^her, whom thoa didst 
betray to death. « 

Mex. Did 8 not the blooded thy mothor^aLready shed, 
suffice thee ? 

Ores. I should not be wearied of slaying eTil women 
for ever. 

Men. Can it be that thou also, Pyhdes, takest put 
in this murder ? 

Ores. He assents by silence : but it will be safficient 
for me to speak. 

Men. But not at all with impunity, unless at least 
thou fliest away with wings. 

Ores. We do not mean to fly. But we will bum 
the house with fire. 

^ 1584. fjuaffTup, eril ge- ^ 1589. irdpof. P. the former 

nius. ScHOLEF. murder. 


1^595—1610.] ORESTES. 69 

Men. What ! wilt thou indeed destroy this the house 
of thy fathers ? 

Ores. Aye, I will, so that thou mayest not possess it, 
having slaughtered this damsel over the fire. 

Men. Slay her : for if thou slayest her, thou shalt 
give me satisfaction for these deeds. 

Ores. So it shall be. 

Men. Hold, hold ! by no means do this ! 

Ores. Be silent then, and endure to suffer misfortune 

Men. What, is it just that thou shouldst live ? 

Ores. Aye, and rule the land. 

Men. What land? 

Ores. In this Pelasgian Argos. 

Men. Well in sooth couldst thou touch the sacred 

Ores. And prithee why not ? 

Men. And sacrifice victims before battle. 

Ores. And couldst thou do so becomingly ? 

Men. Aye, for I am pure as to my hands. 

Ores. But not as to thy heart. 

Men. And who would speak to thee ? 

Ores. Whoever loves his father. 

Men. But whoever honours his mother ? 

Ores. Is a happy man. 

Men. Thou therefore art not happy. 

Ores. No, for bad women please not me. 

Men. Remove thy sword from my daughter. 

Ores. Thou art a liar. 

Men. But wilt thou slay my daughter ? 

Ores. Thou liest no longer. 

Men. Woe is me ! what shall I do ? 

Ores. Go to the Argives and persuade them 

70 ORESTES. £1611— leSO. 

Men. To do what ? 

Ores. Ask the city not to slay ns. 

Mex. Or ye will murder my child ? 

Ores. Thus the case stands. 

Men. O wretched Helen ! 

Ores. And is not my lot wretched ? 

Men. I conveyed her from among tlie Phrygians to 
be thy 9 victim — 

Ores. O that tliis had been so ! 

Men. Having endured innumerable toils. 

Ores. Except against me, at least. 

Men. Fearful things I have sutiTered. 

Ores. Aye, for at that time of need thou wast 

Men. Thou hast caught me. 

Ores. Aye, thou hast. caught thyself having beei 
base. But come, set fire to this palace, Clectra; and 
thou, Pylades, truest of all my friends to me, fire these 
cornices of the battlements. 

Men. O land of Danaus and ye inhabitants of Argos 
abounding in steeds, will ye not hither to the rescue with 
well armed foot ? For this man lives in defiance of your 
entire city, having committed the abominable murder of 
his mother. 


Menelaus, cease from having thy fury, thus sharply 
excited ; I, Phoebus the son of Latona, who am near 
thee, call thee ; and thou too, Orestes, who sword in hand 
art watching over this damsel, that thou mayest hear the 
tidings bearing which I have come. Helen, in the first 
place, whom thou being so ready to slay didst fail of 

» 1614. ffL I brought thee to be etc.— P. 

.1631— -1658.] ORESTES. 71 

her, incensing Menelaus against thee, is she there, whom 
ye behold in the cloudclefts of ether, preserved and not 
slain by thy hand. I saved her and snatched her from 
thy sword at the command of father Jove. For being 
of the race of Jove it was ordained that she should live 
imperishable ; and she will sit with Castor and Polydeu- 
ces in the cloudclefts of ether, a star of safety for seamen. 
But get thee another bride, receiving her into thy house, 
since the gods by the exceeding beauty of this woman 
brought together Greeks and Phrygians in strife, and 
caused many deaths, that they might draw off from the 
earth the wantonness of mortals which had reached its full 
height.^ As regards Helen indeed thus matters stand : 
But for thee again Orestes, it is ordained that thou pass 
over the boundaries of this land and dwell in the Par- 
rhasian plain for a revolving year. And the place shall 
have a name derived from thine exile among Azanians and 
Arcadians, so that they shall call it Oresteium : and thence 
having gone to the city of the Athenians, undergo a trial for 
matricidal bloodshed, at the prosecution of the three Eu- 
menides : but the gods, judges in thy suit, shall pass a most 
religious sentence on the hills of Mars, in which it is fated 
for thee to be victorious. And Hermione, at whose throat, 
Orestes, thou keepest thy sword, it is decreed that thou 
shalt wed ; but Neoptolemus, who thinks that he will 
marry her, shall never have her to wife. For it is fated 
for him to die by a Delphian sword, when demanding 
satisfaction from me for his father Achilles : but give to 
Pylades thy sister s bed, to whom thou didst formerly 

* 1639 seq. This account of Stasinus, a Cyclic poet ; who is 
the origin of the Trojan war is supposed to have lived not ear- 
derived from the Cypria of lier than about the Ist. 01. 

72 ORESTES. [1659 — 1681 

agree to give it : and happy is the sacoeeding life that 
awaits him. And do thoo, Menelans, safier Orestes to 
mle over Argos, but go thyself and be king over the land 
of Sparta, possessing the dowry of the wifis, who in- 
volving thee in innumerable toils, even ontil nowhu 
been bringing thee to this crisis. — ^And as r^ards the 
city, I will arrange matters satisfactorily for this man, I 
who compelled him to murder his mother. 

Ores. O prophetic Loxias, thou wast then no fak 
prophet in thy divine responses, but a true one. And 
yet fear entered my mind lest, in fact hearing one of the 
avenging deities, I might fancy I heard thy Toice. But 
all comes to a happy end, and I will obey thy words. 
Lo ! I release Hermione firom slaughter, I consent to her 
bed, whenever her father gives her to me. 

Men. O Helen daughter of Jove, &rewell, O damsel ! 
But I envy thee having gone to dwell in the happy 
abode of the gods. And to thee Orestes I betroth my 
daughter, at the behest of Phoebus ; and being noble 
and bom of a noble father, mayest thou be prosperous in 
thy marriage, both thou and I who give thee the bride. 

Apol. Depart then each of you thither where I appoint, 
and be reconciled from contention. 

Men. We must obey. 

Ores. I also agree to this ; and I make a truce 
with calamity, Menelaus, and with thy oracles, O 

Apol. Go ye then on your way, honouring Peace, the 
fairest of goddesses. But I will convey Helen near to 
the halls of Jove, having accomplished my journey to the 
firmament of bright stars ; where sitting by the side of 
Hera and of Hebe the spouse of Hercules she shall be a 

1 683 — 1 693.] ORESTES. 73 

goddess to mortals, for ever honoured with libations; 
with the Tyndarids, the sons of Jove, a guardian god- 
dess of the sea for sailors. 

QChor. O Victory greatly venerated, mayest thou dwell 
with me through my life, and never cease crowning me 
with chaplets.]^ 

* 1691. lidem versus loquun- -koititov lanv, wf viicqtravTOQ 

tur in fine Phcenissarum et [pot. vnc^erovrof] kv rtf dpd- 

Iphigeniae Tauricse, rovro Sid fxari. SchoL — Dind. 
Tov x^pov wg Ik irpoffonrov tov